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New Forecast Projects More Than 157,000 Deaths By August 8; Texas Orders Extra Body Bags And Refrigerated Trucks As Death Count Rises; Rep. John Lewis Dies At Age 80. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired July 18, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman John Lewis, giant in the history of the civil rights movement, has died at the age of 80.
JOHN LEWIS, FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He always believed in the power of love and not hate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His legacy will grow and grow and grow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't care about himself. He didn't care about politics. He didn't care about fame or fortune. He cared about making a difference and so he lived a purpose-driven life.
Lewis: We must never, ever give up. We must be brave, bold and courageous.
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VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell. You're watching NEW DAY. It is Saturday, July 18th.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: And I'm Abby Phillip in today for Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: Well, he was an icon, a hero, a paramount fighter and figure of civil rights and this morning, the nation, really the world is celebrating the life and mourning the loss of Congressman John Lewis.
PHILLIP: And at a time when this nation is at a moment of reckoning, his life is a lesson for us all. He was the last survivor of the big civil rights activists, the big six, led by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and he died last night after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer and even during that battle, he remained a lion, crying out for racial justice even in his final weeks.
BLACKWELL: And there are so many tributes that are coming in. This starts -- we'll start with one from former president Barack Obama who wrote this, "Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did and thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders." Here's CNN's Martin Savidge.
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MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Throughout his life, John Lewis stood for people's rights. Born on an Alabama cotton farm into a segregated America, he'd not only lived to see an African- American elected president, he would be a major part of making it happen.
LEWIS: Tonight, tonight we gather here in this magnificent stadium in Denver because we still have a dream. We still have a dream.
SAVIDGE: Lewis, growing up, was angered by the unfairness of the Jim Crow south. He credited Martin Luther King Jr. for inspiring him to join the civil rights movement and eventually Lewis would become one of its most prominent leaders.
As a student, he organized sit-ins at lunch counters. In the early '60s, he was a Freedom Rider, challenging segregation at interstate bus terminals across the south. The embodiment of non-violence, he frequently suffered beatings by angry mobs. Lewis, 23-years-old at the time, was the youngest speaker of the 1963 March on Washington.
LEWIS: We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now.
SAVIDGE: Then two years later led a march for voting rights in Selma. On the Edmund Pettus Bridge, he and the other marchers were met by heavily armed state and local police. They were sat upon and beaten, Lewis suffering a fractured skull. It would be forever remembered as Bloody Sunday. The images of brutality shocked the nation, galvanizing support for the Voting Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.
Lewis never lost his young activist spirit, taking it from protest to politics. Standing up for what he believed was right, Lewis was arrested more than 40 times by police according to his congressional office.
LEWIS: I'm on my way and we're going to win this race.
SAVIDGE: He was elected to City Council in Atlanta, then to Congress in Washington representing Georgia's Fifth District, fighting against poverty and for healthcare while working to help younger generations by improving education.
He reached out to young people in other ways, co-writing a series of graphic novels about the civil rights movement, winning him a national book award. In a life of so many moments and great achievements, it was the achievement of another in 2008 that perhaps meant the most -- the election of President Barack Obama.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITES STATES: We have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are and always will be the United States of America. SAVIDGE: A dream Lewis admits was too impossible to consider decades before even as he fought to forge its foundation.
LEWIS: This is a unbelievable period in our history. Martin Luther King Jr. would be very pleased to see what is happening in America.
This is a long way from the march on Washington. This is a great distance from marching across that bridge in Selma in 1965 for the right to vote.
SAVIDGE: In 2011 after more than 50 years on the front lines of civil rights, Lewis received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal Freedom, placed around his neck by America's first black president. Lewis wasn't content to just making history. He was also dedicated to preserving it, considered the impetus of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
And he never stopped stirring up good trouble, as he liked to call it, boycotting the inaugurations of George W. Bush after the contested 2000 election and vocally opposing Donald Trump in 2017, citing suspicions of Russian election meddling. At a protest against President Trump's immigration policy, the Congressman, by then an elder statesman of the Democratic party, riled up the crowd with words he had lived by as an activist, as a lawmaker, as a leader.
LEWIS: We must never, ever give up. We must be brave, bold and courageous.
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PHILLIP: And this morning, the tributes are pouring in. We have CNN Congressional Reporter, Lauren Fox with us this morning. Lauren, the conscience of the Congress has now died. What are his colleagues on Capitol Hill saying this morning?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, you're right, Abby. These tributes are pouring in and not just from his Democratic colleagues, but from across the aisle as well. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put out a statement, as well as Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, but after a 33-year career on Capitol Hill, those tributes, one of them coming from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, read a lot like this.
From Pelosi, quote, "John Lewis was a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation. May his memory be an inspiration that moves us all in the face of injustice." Then she quoted John Lewis himself, quote, "Make good trouble." Kamala Harris, a senator from California, said, quote, "John Lewis was an icon who fought with every ounce of his being to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans. My friend, thank you for showing the world what good trouble looks like."
And of course while he was on Capitol Hill, he took that activist spirit that he had and he really inspired and mentored lawmakers coming up through the ranks. You know, in 2016, if you remember when Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, Democrats were fighting day after day to try to put gun legislation on the floor and John Lewis was one of the members who led a sit-in on the House floor that went for hours and hours and that was the kind of practice that he really inspired members to take on themselves.
And you know, as we saw in that package, you know, he fought year after year to try to get a national museum of African-American history and he fought. He introduced that bill every single year and it would get blocked. Finally in 2003, it passed, it was signed into law and at the speech where he talked about his fight to open that museum, he said, quote, "Giving up on dreams is not an option for me." Abby?
BLACKWELL: I'll take it. Fought there till the end. Lauren, thank you so much.
PHILLIP: Reverend Raphael Warnock of Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church says he was with John Lewis when he passed. He writes in part, "In his youth, John Lewis wrestled with a call to ministry, but instead of preaching sermons, he became a sermon for all the world to see. As his pastor, I was honored to be with him as he crossed his final bridge with the same faith and courage."
BLACKWELL: This from former president Bill Clinton. He says that, "John Lewis gave all he had to redeem America's unmet promise of equality and justice for all and to create a place for us to build a more perfect union together. In so doing, he became the conscience of the nation."
And the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., Reverend Bernice King, has this message for John Lewis, "Farewell, sir. You did indeed fight the good fight and get into a lot of good trouble. You served God and humanity well. Thank you. Take your rest."
PHILLIP: We're joined now by April Ryan, CNN political analyst. April, good morning. Thank you for being here. April, I know --
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.
PHILLIP: -- you have known John Lewis for so many years. Can you just tell us what do you remember most about him? What should the world remember most about him?
RYAN: What should the world remember most? That he was one of the kindest, gentlest spirits who wanted equality for all.
[06:10:05] While I was listening to you, I was thinking back over the years. I remember one of the first times that I met him early on in my time at the White House, over these 23 years, early in my position as White House correspondent and he had a reporter's gathering. Black reporters came to his home on Capitol Hill and I remember just how he welcomed us and he talked about various issues from civil rights to the issues of the day and I remember all the artwork in his home.
He had beautiful artwork from Haiti, from the Caribbean. Just wonderful artwork in his home and then I think about who he was, the spirit of John Lewis, the fighter, this non-violent fighter John Lewis. I think about him being a young man in Snick and how he attracted the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and he told me about these moments when I sat with him in his office on Capitol Hill when he gave me information for my book "At Mama's Knee."
And he regaled me about the time when Dr. King came to his home in Alabama, 100-acre farm, his mother and father sharecroppers and he wanted to be the first black student at Troy State University and Dr. King said we can get you there, but the problem is is that once we get you there, your home will be bombed and your family will lose their land and he said that was a tremendous price to pay.
Now mind you, before that, he was -- he and his brother and sisters were trying to fight for the right to go to the local library and he took that fight to get a library card and go to the local library to a fight to try to get into Troy State. So he pulled back off of that and then I think about him going into the civil rights movement. He had this spirit of equality from a very young age, even younger than before he got into Snick, but he did it against his mother's approval.
He went on to march with Dr. King. His mother did not want him marching because she understood the gravity. It could be fatal. It could be deadly for him and others, but the reason why he kept going with Dr. King is because of his mother's faith in spite of her quest not to get him to go --
RYAN: -- and he said he saw his mother, you know, ironing sometimes saying the old words, "I've never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed (ph) begging bread," and he said that faith that she had would keep him on the journey for equality for all and civil rights.
BLACKWELL: April, let me -- let me ask you about this because there are few members of Congress whom, regardless of ideology, regardless of party, that everyone is happy to associate themselves with.
RYAN: Yes. Yes.
BLACKWELL: They will call him a mentor, they will call him a friend. Not just my friend across the aisle, but they really want to be close to John Lewis. Tell me about why.
RYAN: Because he was a man who stood for change. He was a man of integrity. It's one thing to do something, but it's another thing to believe in your spirit and for that spirit to overflow and people see it. So I'll never forget when they had that sit-in. Remember the sit- in over gun control? And everyone wanted to be with Congressman John Lewis who did so many sit-ins, who was jailed over 40 times.
I remember Elizabeth Warren coming from the Senate and sat down with him and I said, you know, this is great for a few hours, but this man sat in and went to jail many times. He crossed that racist-named Edmund Pettus Bridge over 50 years ago and he and others brought the attention of the world because white people joined in. He was that man, that spirit, that peaceful spirit that made people say, I've got to stand with him and you saw so many people, Democrats and Republicans, listening and standing with him.
And I also -- going back to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I also think about 50 years ago, him walking and then on the 50th anniversary, him walking across that bridge again and there was a call to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after John R. Lewis and at that time, he backed off of it and then most recently from the reports I heard from Joe Madison, "The Black Eagle" from "Sirius XM," he said he'd talked to John Lewis recently. He said he's going to let everyone else decide that.
RYAN: So there is now a call to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge, named after the grand wizard of the KKK, to name it now --
BLACKWELL: And I imagine --
RYAN: -- the John R. Lewis Bridge.
BLACKWELL: I imagine there will be a lot of passion behind that --
BLACKWELL: -- after his death.
BLACKWELL: April Ryan, thanks so much for spending a few minutes with us.
RYAN: Thank you, Victor.
BLACKWELL: And in a moment, we're going to speak with Ambassador Andrew Young about Congressman Lewis' life, so stay with us for that. Now, one of the most remarkable parts of his legacy is bravely surviving that beating, as we heard from April there, crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
PHILLIP: It was a moment that marked his life and CNN's Dana Bash crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis back in 2018 where he reflected on the events of that day and how he survived and what he did right after.
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DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You marched across this bridge in a peaceful protest and you were met with a billy club on your skull. Do you have memory of that moment that you got beaten almost to death?
LEWIS: I remember so well the moment that I was beaten and left the foot of the bridge. I thought I was going to die. I thought I saw death. I thought it was the last march. Fifty-three years later, I don't know how I made it back across this bridge, but apparently a group of individuals literally took me across the bridge back to the church where we left from.
But I do remember being back at the church and someone asked me to say something to the audience and I stood up and said something like, I don't understand how President Johnson can send troops to Vietnam and cannot send troops to Selma, Alabama to protect people who only desires to register to vote.
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LEWIS: All of us, it doesn't matter whether we're black or white, Latino, Asian-American or Native American, it doesn't matter whether we are straight or gay, we are one people, we are one family, we are one house, we all live in the same house.
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BLACKWELL: More now on the life of Congressman John Lewis. With us by phone to talk about his friend's legacy, Ambassador Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, former congressman.
Ambassador, thank you for joining us. You said that you don't think anyone has spent 80 more fruitful years on earth than John Lewis. Tell us what you're thinking and feeling this morning.
ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Well, I'm feeling happy that -- I was just sitting here thinking there's a song that we used to sing, "In that great getting up morning, fare thee well, fare thee well. In that great getting up morning, fare thee well." And I think that this has been a great getting up morning for John Lewis and John started his trek towards freedom as a little boy and wrote to Martin Luther King when he was about 14.
He was from Troy, Alabama and Martin sent him a bus ticket to come up to go to church at Ebenezer and he got started and so he was probably about 15 when that happened and he has remained steadily on the case for justice and freedom and peace and all achieved non-violently since the '50s and I said that probably nobody has spent 80 years any more deeply involved throughout those 80 years than John Lewis.
PHILLIP: And Ambassador --
YOUNG: Of course -- yes.
PHILLIP: Go ahead.
YOUNG: C.T. Vivian was his mentor and C.T. Vivian passed just the day before and C.T. Vivian was 96, but they were together since the Nashville sit-in story of -- movement in 1960 and C.T. Vivian started his non-violent struggle in 1947. So we really have a tremendous celebration of dedicated lives totally dedicated to making America, as Dr. King said, live out the full meaning of her creeds.
PHILLIP: One of the things that, over the years being in Washington, you know that being around John Lewis in Washington is one of the highest things that people could do on both sides of the aisle. Republicans and Democrats, they all wanted to be associated with him.
I think a lot of people felt that it was, you know, an honor to have someone who was a part of this movement still in Congress, still holding their feet to the fire and he really did hold their feet to the fire even up until the final days, having a sit-in on Capitol Hill over immigration.
You know, tell us about the man that you knew and it doesn't surprise you at all that John Lewis continued to push his colleagues on the Hill even into the final years of his life.
He never really sat back and let people just sort of reminisce on, you know, nostalgia.
YOUNG: Well, nobody would let him because he brought so much to the political arena that there must be three-fourths of the districts in Congress where a black minority and a minority of goodwill, a moral minority usually can make the difference between winning and losing and so every member of Congress always wanted to have John come to their district and because he campaigned for everybody over 34 years, everybody in the Congress was indebted to him.
John was not a -- he didn't convince you by his arguments, he convinced you by his life. He believed what we talk about and he lived it every day of his life and he didn't have a violent streak in his body and he was always forgiving, always loving, always understanding and he never made you feel guilty, but he made you feel responsible and so when you feel responsible and you feel like you're loved and he's concerned about you, then you want to kind of do what he wants you to do and so many bills passed.
The African-American museum there in Washington was one of the things that he got through congress and there were many things. Nobody knows the power of the Congress because it all happens so quietly and it's always deeply personal and and he was a master at that.
BLACKWELL: Mr. Ambassador --
YOUNG: Everybody loved him.
BLACKWELL: -- let me ask you. You're a former mayor of Atlanta. CNN center sits in Congressman Lewis' district. We've talked about what he meant to Congress and to the rest of the world. What did he mean to the city of Atlanta?
YOUNG: Well, John Lewis grew up, really spent his adulthood in the city of Atlanta as our congressman for the last 34 years. He was -- he was very close to Ted Turner in the early days of CNN and Tom Johnson and I think one of the reasons why Ted Turner's interest in the United Nations was -- there was an atmosphere around Atlanta with Jimmy Carter and I was at the United Nations and John was here on the City Council.
We have a -- we have a street when you come through Atlanta on Highway 75, 85. There's a sign that says John Lewis Freedom Parkway and you can't come through Atlanta without knowing that John Lewis has been active there.
YOUNG: But I don't know that he has any enemies and to be around this long and not make any enemies is quite an achievement.
BLACKWELL: Certainly a legacy there and you mentioned Freedom Parkway. There's also that mural along Auburn Avenue that hopefully we can get some video up for people to see, people who don't live here in the city of Atlanta. Ambassador Andrew Young, thank you so much for taking a few minutes this morning after being up with Don last night to talk about your late friend, Congressman John Lewis.
YOUNG: Thank you very much.
BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you. We'll be right back.
BLACKWELL: This morning, a new projection by the CDC, it says the number of Americans killed by the coronavirus could exceed 157,000 three weeks from now.
PHILLIP: Just yesterday, more than 71,000 cases were recorded, 908 Americans are now dead. Cases are spiking across the country. And now states like Texas and Arizona are bringing in refrigerated trucks as morgues fill up.
BLACKWELL: There's a county in Texas where the public health director says at least 85 infants have tested positive for the virus. And of course, there's this fight over masks with Dr. Anthony Fauci, he says to local leaders, be as forceful as possible to get people to wear them.
PHILLIP: The debate isn't just over masks, that's just one flash point. There's also conflicting information from health experts and the White House have states grappling with what to do with students.
BLACKWELL: So on Friday, CNN learned that a document prepared for the White House coronavirus taskforce recommended that eight states roll back their reopening. CNN's Polo Sandoval has some details for us.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been another record-setting week of new coronavirus cases across the country. And in much of the nation, it's not getting any better with more recorded daily. As the Fall's school semester approaches.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do not risk kids! Do not risk kids!
SANDOVAL: The debate is raging about how and when schools should reopen. California's governor announcing a majority of school districts in his state will not reopen for in-person teaching this Fall.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This is how we start in those monitoring counties. This is not how we intend to end. We hope. In some cases, some of these counties fall right off that monitoring list and we're back up and running in person.
SANDOVAL: The White House maintains science sides with reopening, though that does little to ease the worries of some teachers and parents.
ABEL DELACRUZ, STUDENT: So opening up the schools, would just near be opening up death traps for tons of kids.
VIVIANNE HANSON, TEACHER: Here we've been planning in detail on how we're going to bring students back safely, and they're just like -- oh, throw caution to the wind. Just let's risk all the children's lives.
SANDOVAL: The blooming number of COVID cases is far from assuring. Florida now has the highest number of cases per capita. Just over 55 per 100,000 people. As the sunshine state hangs on to its title, as the nation's current COVID epicenter, Governor Ron DeSantis says gyms are staying open. On Friday, he argued closing them would only harm the health of those using them.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I think most of the people that are going to gyms are in the low risk groups. And I think what they're doing is making them even less risk for the coronavirus. I don't think it makes sense to close it.
SANDOVAL: Though health officials have said people with underlying health conditions are at greater risk, a recent rise in younger patients testing positive for the virus could impact vulnerable populations. Miami is done issuing warnings to people not adhering to their city's mask mandate expect to pay $50 for the first offense starting on Monday.
The death is hitting new highs in Texas, where on Friday, 174 people died due to COVID, a new record for the state. One south Texas health official sounding the alarm about Idalou County near the U.S.-Mexico border.
IVAN MELENDEZ, HIDALGO COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY: My guide, now we're losing 30-35 people a day. SANDOVAL: Dr. Ivan Melendez saying his colleagues are physically and
emotionally exhausted, his county's hospitals are so full, patients with minor symptoms are being asked to quarantine at home. For those worrying about another COVID wave in the Fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci says we're not even done with round one.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When you're having, you know, up to 70,000 new infections in certain areas of the country, that's something you need to focus on right now as opposed to looking ahead and what's going to happen in September or in October.
SANDOVAL: Fauci also calling on local leaders to be as, quote, "forceful as possible" in getting people to wear masks. Some of the nation's largest retailers are now requiring customers to cover up. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.
BLACKWELL: President Trump's niece is out promoting her new book, already a million copies have sold. She's critical of her uncle. She says that he's a deeply damaged man who is only going to get worse. We're going to hear from Mary Trump when we come back.
PHILLIP: We're gaining some new insights into what President Trump could be thinking as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the country. Nearly 140,000 Americans have died, but the White House and the president continue to make decisions that run counter to the advice from medical experts.
BLACKWELL: So Mary Trump spoke to our Chris Cuomo last night. She's the president's niece. She says the president is not anti-science, but the science is not convenient, so he ignores it.
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MARY TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S NIECE: It's not because he doesn't know math are good, it's not because he is, you know, radically anti- science, it's because those things work for the narrative he needs to spin. So it would require him to admit in one way or another that he's made a mistake. A huge mistake, that's cost many tens of thousands of lives. He can't do that. So all he's got left is creating division, and that's a place in which he's very comfortable.
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BLACKWELL: Now, Mary Trump is a psychologist. She also talked about her uncle's childhood, she says that those early years they're affecting his ability to govern in a crisis, and she says this is not going to get any better.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Was he known as the smart one?
TRUMP: No. He hasn't changed much. And I think, you know, if we only knew him now and extrapolated backwards, it would be pretty obvious. Donald is a psychologically, deeply damaged man based on his upbringing and the situation with his parents. He is not going to get better, and he is without question going to get worse.
CUOMO: What is your biggest concern?
TRUMP: That he be allowed to continue unfettered throughout this extraordinary confluence of crisis we're facing at the moment, and that do not seem at all to be improving. And, in fact, every day seem to be getting worse. It's very concerning, and I truly hope that the American people see it that way and you know, make the right choice when we're able to make that choice in November.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Well, yesterday, the president responded to his niece's book -- well, where else does he respond to things like this, but Twitter? He called her a mess and this, "a seldom seen niece who knows little about me." The president accused her of breaking some unspecified law. He also attacked her for criticizing his parents -- her grandparents. He said that they could not stand her. OK.
Up next, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is vowing to continue to work even as she undergoes chemotherapy. The author of "Notorious RBG" is with us next.
PHILLIP: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says her cancer has returned and that she's been receiving chemotherapy since May. Justice Ginsburg says she's seeing positive results from treatment and is fully able to continue on the court despite her optimism, however, medical experts warn this treatment is serious.
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DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Everybody is different. So it's going to be hard to say, and I always hesitate to put numbers, although everyone asks like what is the likelihood of survival here. Average survival after someone starts gemcitabine is around a year. So it's not very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: We're joined now by a co-author of "Notorious RBG", a senior correspondent for "New York Magazine" and CNN contributor Irin Carmon. Irin, good morning, welcome back.
IRIN CARMON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning. BLACKWELL: Let's start here. So, I understand this is a pancreatic
cancer that's returned. What do you know about her condition and the treatment?
CARMON: Well, Victor, unfortunately, we've been here before multiple times with Justice Ginsburg. You mentioned she had pancreatic cancer, she's also had cancer found in her colon, more recently in her lung. She's been hospitalized for a broken rib in the past year and a half. She was recently in the hospital for an infection.
So for an 87-year-old, it is pretty remarkable that despite all of these significant health challenges, she's still with us and she's still working on the court full steam. I mean, in a way, this remote work that the court was giving this past time, worked out well for her because she has hardly ever missed a day on the bench even with all those health challenges, although she did in this recent back with lung cancer.
But if you listened in on the court's proceedings, you could hear Justice Ginsburg's voice loud and clear. You can see her opinions and her dissent on the door of the opinions in this time. As she said she will continue to do the job as long as she can do it full steam. And there's no indication, despite the seriousness of this diagnosis, that she's been anything but sharp and fully participating in the Supreme Court's proceedings the last time.
PHILLIP: Yes, Irin, this morning, I'm sure there are a lot of really nervous Democrats who want Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be around for as long as possible. Do you think that there's any element of this where this justice is staying on the court as long as she can to wait out potentially a Trump term?
CARMON: Well, Abby, you know, Justice Ginsburg has made absolutely no secret of her opinion of President Trump. She had called him a faker, including in an interview to CNN. And so it is very clear that Justice Ginsburg, not only wants to stay on the court, but she's deeply committed to the work that she's been doing in the 25-plus years that she's been there.
But also because she does not want Donald Trump to replace her. I think she chose not to retire, something that a lot of Democrats are freaking out about right now, understandably, wishing that she had retired under President Obama when the Democrats still controlled the Senate. But I think Justice Ginsburg is someone who is doggedly stubborn, very committed to this work, and that same stubbornness I think is going to drive her through.
Democrats right now are panicked because they do not want to see President Trump further remake the Supreme Court. And so the question is, will that change the calculus in the 2020 election in a way that didn't happen in 2016 when there was an open seat vacated by Justice Scalia. Can Democrats now motivate their voters to really focus not just on the presidency, but also the Senate that will be voted to confirm any successor to anyone on the Supreme Court. BLACKWELL: Hey, Irin, before we let you go, real quickly here,
according to this statement, the chemotherapy started two months ago. Ginsburg, when she announced chemotherapy in 2009 before she underwent the procedures. Is it clear why this is being made public now after the chemotherapy?
CARMON: You know, what she said is that she was waiting to see what kind of results there would be -- it will be. It's interesting this question of what Supreme Court justices tell us, right? Because we recently found out that Chief Justice Roberts suffered a head injury but not because he disclosed it, but because "The Washington Post" got a tip and confirmed it with the court.
Justice Ginsburg, I think has been remarkably transparent. She has really -- not only has she shown us her workout routine, she's also disclosed all of her brushes with health, whether it's a broken rib, an infection or a battle with cancer. So, you know, she has decided to probably let us know about her health (INAUDIBLE). In general, I think she's disclosed far more than other members of the court including the Chief Justice.
PHILLIP: Who recently himself also had a health scare. Irin Carmon, thank you so much for being with us this morning, we will be right back.
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JOHN LEWIS, LATE CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: And we see those signs that said white men, colored men, white women, colored women, white lady, colored lady. And I've asked my mother, my father, my grandparents and my great grandparents why? And they would say, boy, that's the way it is. Don't get in the way. Don't get in trouble. But in 1955, 15 years old, the action of Rosa Parks, the words and leadership of Dr. King inspired me to get in trouble. What I call good trouble. Necessary trouble.
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PHILLIP: That was a clip from John Lewis "Good Trouble" from CNN films that looks at the life and career of the civil rights activist and congressional leader who died last night at 80 years old. You know, Victor, I often think about just how lucky we all were to have him among us. Still with us. A towering living memory to that period of time. But what is so interesting and important about John Lewis is that he never stopped pushing.
He never let people just sit back and say, well, that was a -- that was a good time. That was a time when there were so many brave people. He really insisted that everybody really take it on themselves right in this moment that we're living in.
BLACKWELL: Yes, I remember when I moved to Atlanta, I lived in his district for the first four years, and I met him at an event early 2013. And it was right after his late wife, Lillian Miles Lewis had died. And people weren't really sure if he was going to show up. He was the keynote speaker. And when he came and he started kind of low and then got to that crescendo, there was not a dry eye there.
PHILLIP: Yes --
BLACKWELL: And people knew that if he could come in this moment to say keep the faith, as he often did, then there was work for everyone else in that room to do. John Lewis dead now at the age 80. We'll talk more about his life and contributions throughout the show. Next hour starts right now.