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New Day Sunday

Trump, Democrats Fight Over SCOTUS Pick Ahead Of First Debate; More Than A Dozen Arrested In Portland During Competing Protests; Global Coronavirus Death Toll Nears One Million; Joe Biden To Address Trump's Supreme Court Nominee; Faggioli: Barrett's Nomination Spotlights Questions About Religion And Constitution; LeBron James Leads Lakers To First NBA Finals Since 2010. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 27, 2020 - 07:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Judge Amy Coney Barrett is Trump's nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: I have no illusions that the road ahead of me will be easy, and I will do my very best to demonstrate that I am worthy of your support.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): A vote for Amy Coney Barrett is a dagger aimed at the heart of the healthcare protections Americans so desperately need.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm sure it will be extremely noncontroversial. We said that the last time, didn't we?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will face off in their first debate.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He doesn't know how to debate the facts because he's not that smart. He doesn't know that many facts.

TRUMP: We look forward to seeing him in the debate. He's got a lot more experience. He's got 47 years. I've got 3 1/2 years.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It's the lights of Atlanta, and fall is finally in the air. I hope you're feeling the same thing wherever you might be this morning.

We're so grateful to have your company as always here at NEW DAY. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: Always great to have you here, Marty.

So, this morning, of course, we're counting down to the first presidential debate of the 2020 race, as this confirmation battle, of course, looms in Washington simultaneously.

SAVIDGE: President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court sets up a tight timeline for Republicans who are insisting that they fill that seat before the November 3rd election.

CNN's Sarah Westwood joins us now from the White House.

And, Sarah, with the election so close, the timing, of course, has to be considered crucial.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah. Good morning, Martin and Christi.

And there's simply no room for error for Senate Republicans here who hope to get it done for the White House before Election Day. So, they're setting themselves up to do this in a little over a month. Now, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham quickly released a tentative schedule for that confirmation process yesterday after the president unveiled Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to fill that Supreme Court vacancy. He wants to start the proceedings the week of October 12th. They want to do it done quickly, three or four days of hearings.

On Tuesday, October 13, mark your calendars, that is when they want to begin questioning Amy Coney Barrett with the senators. So, that will be an exciting day to watch there.

Democrats were quick to oppose the nomination yesterday on Saturday. They described it as a power grab by Republicans. They're opposing her both on ideological and procedural grounds. The way that the Republicans are trying to go about this, they say, is filled with hypocrisy.

But they also know that it was late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's wish, one of her last wishes, that her vacancy not be filled until the next president was elected.

Amy Coney Barrett speaking yesterday here at the White House after the nomination said she will not forget whose vacancy she'll be filling.


BARRETT: I am be mindful of who came before me. The flag of the United States is still flying at half-staff in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to mark the end of a great American life.

TRUMP: This should be a straightforward and prompt confirmation. It should be very easy. Good luck. It's going to be very quick.

I'm sure it will be extremely noncontroversial. We said that the last time, didn't we?


WESTWOOD: And Trump there referencing the historically divisive confirmation proceedings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who's going to really oversee

this process, this confirmation process on Capitol Hill was a proponent of Coney Barrett throughout the very short time that Trump took to decide on officially nominating her. He described her yesterday as exceedingly well-qualified for this job and vowed that she would be getting a floor vote in the Senate in the weeks ahead -- Martin and Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Sarah Westwood, good to see you this morning. Thanks for the update.

SAVIDGE: The Supreme Court will be just one of a number of topics that will be headlining the first presidential debate on Tuesday.

PAUL: Yeah, both sides are managing expectations with their similar attack lines, basically saying of each other, that guy is not very smart.


TRUMP: Dumb guy. Dumb guy. Always known as a dumb guy.

But we look forward to seeing him in a debate. He's got a lot more experience. He's got 47 years. I've got 3 1/2 years. So we'll see.

BIDEN: It is going to be difficult. I know -- my guess is it's going to be straight attack. They'll be mostly person personal. He doesn't know how to debate the facts, because he's not that smart.


PAUL: CNN's Jessica Dean has more now on Biden's debate prep.


JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Martin and Christi.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, spending this weekend fully preparing for Tuesday's debate against President Donald Trump in Cleveland, Ohio. We're told that he really likes aides peppering him with questions at rapid speed as opposed to a full mock debate.


We also know that previously in the weeks running up to this, he'd been studying briefing books. He's also told the traveling press that's he's paying attention to what Donald Trump has said and what Donald Trump has not said, really holding small group meetings with policy advisers, drilling down on a lot of policy.

But again, as we get to this weekend, Biden is focusing very fully at debate preparation. And his team also expressing the idea that, look, it may be that Donald Trump is going to be up predictable on that stage. They don't think it's wise or possible for Joe Biden to be fact checking him the entire time he's on the stage. They're hoping that the moderator, in this case Chris Wallace of Fox News, will do some of that fact checking.

Instead, the key idea here is for the former vice president to continue to draw the focus back to what we've heard talk about time and time again on the campaign trail, and that is the health crisis and the economic crisis that this nation is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and tying President Trump's response to that as the reason why the nation is suffering, making the case that President Trump was not up to the job and that his failures on that front are what has led us to this moment with the crisis, both the economic crisis and also the health crisis.

Now, as for the debate itself, it's going to be different because of the pandemic. It's going to be 90 minutes. That's typical. We're also told that instead of the average of 900 attendees, there will be about 60 to 70 people within the debate hall, which had to be moved from Notre Dame which pulled out because of COVID, to Case-Western in Cleveland.

We're told that everybody in the debate hall will be COVID tested before they get inside. So, a lot of precautions being taken as we get closer to Tuesday's debate -- Martin and Christi.


PAUL: All right. Jessica, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

So, when this debate happens on Tuesday, that is going to mark the five-week mark to Election Day.

Early voting is underway already across most of the country. The race is at the moment clearly tilting Biden's way. A new polling we have for you here from "The New York Times" shows that Biden is holding on to his steady national lead. That same poll shows 7 percent of voters are undecided right now.

The first debate offers this giant stage to reach those people and maybe even change the minds. Who knows?

Joining us now to discuss how to do that, former Clinton communication director, Don Baer, and "New York Times" national political correspondent, Alex Burns.

Thank you, gentlemen, for being with us.


ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning to you as well.

PAUL: Good morning to you as well.

I want to look at those numbers again, Biden at 49 percent in this new "New York Times" poll. Trump at 41 percent. So there's an 8-point difference there.

And when you look at 2016, candidate Trump then was in the low 40s. But so was Hillary Clinton. So, Alex, how much dot numbers matter at this point?

BURNS: You know, Christi, I think they matter a lot. I think it's a real challenge to this president that both in our national poll this morning and in almost all of the swing state polling that we've seen recently, the president is stuck in the low and at best those sort of low, mid 40s. You're not seeing polls with President Trump pulling 46, 47 percent support virtually anywhere that's truly an undecided spot in this race.

And that's particularly important because you alluded to 2016. In 2016, we had a couple significant third-party candidates. So, the president was able to win in a lot of places without hitting 50 percent or getting particularly close. That's not the case this year. This is a much more binary choice between those two candidates.

So, the challenge for the president, one of them anyway, in the first debate this week is to make it clear to voters who are maybe not entirely sold on Joe Biden but who really don't care for the incumbent that they have some reason still to consider voting for him. He needs people who are currently supporting Joe Biden to switch sides. It's not enough just to go after undecideds.

PAUL: Yeah, he can't make it on his base alone.

So, Don, this is interesting because part of the other poll here, the pollsters, they were asked, should the winner of the presidential election fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacancy or should President Trump make an appointment before November? The winner of the election got 56 percent, President Trump doing so before November got 41 percent.

So clearly, people want him to wait. He is not doing so. As we know yesterday, he announced the nomination of Coney Barrett.

And Kamala Harris tweeted this after that happened last night. She said: Trump's handpicked successor to Justice Ginsburg's seat makes it clear they intend to destroy the Affordable Care Act and overturn Roe.

Speaker Pelosi said something similar voting to dismantle health care is what it equates to.


And I notice a theme here, Don. The Democrats seem to be setting Biden up with connecting three very important issues. One is the fact that there is this nomination of Barrett. Two, the expectation that with that nomination will come the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act. And three, that it's happening

at a time in the middle of a pandemic when people need their health care.

So, with all of that said, how potent is that connectivity that Biden might focus on, on Tuesday in this debate?

BAER: Yeah, well, I think the Democrats are pivoting very fast to these two key issues. Even in the poll that Alex is talking about, "The New York Times" poll, it's clear that Americans support the woman's right to choose, abortion. And we know that health care is a critical issue and President Trump in that poll is given a lot of blame for where we are on the COVID crisis.

So, I do think that they are setting the vice president up, Biden up to be able to pivot to the issues. If you stop a minute and think about what this debate is, it's one gigantic competitive job interview. In the case of Trump, it's a question to use his words of whether he's going to be hired or fired.

In the case of Biden, it's a question of whether or not he's the replacement for probably the most important hiring decision the American people have ever had to make, which is who is going to be the next president to move us out of this health crisis that we're in, the COVID crisis and to move us out of the economic crisis that we're in.

And so, these issuers that this Supreme Court nomination have now put front and center are going to have a real opportunity to help the Biden campaign.

PAUL: So when we talk about health care, Alex, we know that is a big issue for so many people right now. It was a prime talking point in 2018, obviously, and that propelled Democrats to a House majority. So, we know that it's important.

President Trump said this about health care and a plan he might have when pressed a couple of weeks ago with George Stephanopoulos. Take a listen.


TRUMP: We can do new health care.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: But you've been promising a new health care plan. We interviewed -- I interviewed you in June of last year. You said the health care plan would come in two weeks. You told Chris Wallace at this summer it would come in three weeks. You promised an executive order on preexisting --

TRUMP: I have it already, I have it already.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- but it's -- you've been trying to strike down preexisting conditions.

TRUMP: I have it already. And it's a much better plan for you, and it's a much better plan.


TRUMP: You say Obamacare. I got rid of the original mandate.


PAUL: Alex, does he have to bring a detailed proposal for health care to this debate?

BURNS: You know, I think he's not going to bring a detailed proposal for health care to the debate. We've been pressing him, the press corps for years to do exactly that. To say what he would replace the Affordable Care Act with.

I think we rile have no reason to believe at this point that the president has any intention of laying out a serious health care agenda that meets the standards that he has set. Now, his administration does have a health care agenda, including this challenge to the Affordable Care Act in front of the Supreme Court.

I do think that if the president does not win this election, we're going to look pack on this choice, not just right now but over the last four years as a problematic political vulnerability for him all throughout his presidency, that he was going to attack the ACA from the beginning and was never going to lay out a credible plan to replace it.

I think the kind of bluster that you heard in those interviews that we were just listening to, that may have worked from a point of the 2016 campaign when a lot of people were willing to say, you know what, I will take a chance on this guy. It's a different thing when you're the president of the United States during a massive public health crisis to not really be able to articulate anything substantial that you're going to do in the way of improving Americans' health care.

PAUL: So, Don, do you get the sense that demeanor may out-maneuver policy on Tuesday?

BAER: Well, you know, it's interesting. We've all been saying that demeanor will, how they handle themselves, is Trump going to come off as a bully and overbearing, and will Biden be able to stand up and not seem like he's fumbling through this?

And some of those basics are through. If you go back to my model of this being a sort of job interview. The first thing you're looking for is what kind of person is this? The second thing and more importantly, frankly, is do they understand the job? If they understand the job, that they have a plan for how they're going to address the job.

And to Alex's point, Donald Trump has shown no plan for addressing the COVID crisis and awe how we'll recover from it and the economic crisis and how we recover from it and the economic crisis and how you recover from it. And I think the opportunity for Biden here is to pivot, and to say, look, when it comes to COVID, here is a handful things we're going to have you do, and we are going to do as your government to solve this as we move forward and recover.

And as the economic crisis, here are the things we are going to do to move this forward. So, I just don't think that Trump has shown anything in the years we've seen him where he's able to do the fundamentals of governing.


And that's what people are going to be looking for.

PAUL: All righty. Don Baer, Alex Burns, we certainly value your perspectives here. Thank you for being with us this morning.

BURNS: Thanks a lot.

BAER: Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely.

Don't forget, President Trump, Joe Biden facing off. First presidential event plays out live on CNN. The special coverage on Tuesday starts at 7:00 Eastern.

SAVIDGE: And still ahead, a debate on faith and the law. Should Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett have to face questions about her personal beliefs? We'll hear from a historian and theologian who's facing criticism for arguing they should be front and center.

PAUL: And Florida is full steam ahead with reopening as the death toll from the coronavirus is approaching now a million people globally.



SAVIDGE: The city of Rochester, New York, has named Cynthia Herriot- Sullivan interim police chief following the death of Daniel Prude in police custody.

PAUL: Yeah, police body camera footage of Prude's death prompted as you remember days of protests and accusations of a cover-up.

Well, earlier this month, the previous chief announced he will be stepping down saying his integrity was being destroyed. The mayor later fired him. Herriot-Sullivan served with the Rochester Police Department for 14 years before she retired and now will come back as the city's first female chief.


CYNTHIA HERRIOT-SULLIVAN, ROCHESTER INTERIM POLICE CHIEF: I love this city. I'm going to give it my 110, 120, 130, 140, 150 percent effort. I know that these are tough times right now, but I believe strongly if we all bring your best to the table, you know, we'll be able to get it done.


SAVIDGE: She will start her new position on October 14th.

PAUL: I want to tell you about some of the protests that we saw last night in Portland. Authorities declared an unlawful assembly, in fact, after more than a dozen people were arrested for throwing cans of rocks and other objects at police.

SAVIDGE: The unrest followed a tense day of clashing counter protests.

CNN's Dan Simon has more for us. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are in downtown Portland. And what you're seeing behind me is pretty the same thing in terms of what we've seen the last few months, where you have a group of protesters here downtown. They're in front of Justice Center.

And right now, we're not seeing much of a police presence. But earlier in the night we saw protesters clash with police. Protesters throwing different things and more than a dozen people were arrested. I have to say, there was a concern that things could be a lot worse. You did have members from the Crowd Boys group holding a mass rally. More than 200 people showed up at the local park.

The Crowd Boys, of course, an extremist group the Southern Poverty Center has said that they're a hate group. These are pro-Trump people. They showed up with weapons.

They applied for a permit from the city of Portland. They were denied due to COVID-19 concerns but they came anyway. And as a result of that, you did have several hundred left leaning protesters, counter protesters come to a separate rally. And fortunately, there's no clashes between them. Police really fanned out across the city.

They did their best to keep the groups separate. We'll have to see what happens.

Dan Simon, CNN, Portland, Oregon.


SAVIDGE: Thank you, Dan.

Police in Louisville, Kentucky, arrested 28 people during what was a fourth night of protests over the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor's family says that they are heartbroken and outraged that no officers were directly charged for her death.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz was there.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: After spending hours inside Jefferson Square Park and vowing not to leave as curfew approached at 9:00 p.m., the protesters all left after police made several announcements, warning them that if they did not leave, they would be arrested.

As the 9:00 hour approached, the police started to move in. They brought in some of their tactical vehicles, National Guard came in and all of the protesters by then had left and came to this church behind me, which they've been coming to every night, which has been serving as a sanctuary so that they can stay on the property, the church has allowed them to stay on the property so that they could avoid arrest.

Shimon Prokupecz, CNN, Louisville, Kentucky. (END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: And, by the way, we've learned just before midnight, a small group of protesters set plywood sheets on fire in front of that Unitarian church in Louisville. Police say small explosions were also sparked when a car was set on fire with fireworks inside.

Now, protesters who gathered inside that church were asked to stay there. Authorities investigated the area as we heard from Shimon there.

We are sadly approaching one million deaths globally because of coronavirus. And according to the World Health Organization, doubling that number is, quote, certainly unimaginable. But it's not impossible.

SAVIDGE: In fact, a senior health expert said reaching two million deaths would not be a function of not having a vaccine, but whether or not the tools and knowledge are put in place to save lives and prevent transmission.

PAUL: From New York now, CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval.

It is something -- thinking about hitting a million is so disturbing enough. Even one is disturbing, Polo. But the fact that we're contemplating getting that far with this is frightening.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Martin and Christi, just on Friday, we saw about 55,000 new COVID cases across the country. That is the highest daily reporting number that we've seen since mid- August. So, it certainly suggests that some states are still seeing the infections.

Then you have an example across the river in New Jersey where they are seeing hospitalizations and death rates remaining relatively steady, but still the number of new cases remains stubbornly high.



SANDOVAL (voice-over): Dr. Anthony Fauci says we are still in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic and points to concern about rising rates throughout the fall and winter.

Yet, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is moving full steam ahead into phase three of reopening.

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH: We've been reopening to 50 percent capacity. We're going to try to stay there notwithstanding the governor's order. The problem with the governor's order, he didn't accelerate it and open up bars as well, but also stopped our ability to create a mass mandate and fine people for masks -- for not wearing masks.

So he essentially took away the one thing we are doing which was actually allowing us to open the economy and accelerated of the economy without telling anybody. Literally yesterday, late in the afternoon and everybody in the county was surprised, and frankly shocked as we're rushing around today to figure out how to interpret the order and still not create a huge amount of virus spread because we weren't prepared.

SANDOVAL: This as Florida surpasses 14,000 COVID-19 deaths and near 700,000. 700,000.

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, FORMER CDC DISEASE DETECTIVE: The governor's actions are premature and misguided. This time and in previous times, too, it's under his leadership that Florida became a national hotspot. In fact, Florida held the country's record for the single-day highest number of new coronavirus cases. Back in July when more than 15,000 Floridians were infected in a single day.

SANDOVAL: On Saturday, we learned a 12-year-old girl from Duval County was among the 107 COVID-19 deaths reported in Florida according to Florida Department of Health. California announced Saturday that the 14-day positivity rate had dropped just below 3 percent. At California State University Long Beach, all on-campus residents will quarantine and in-person classes paused for two weeks after a number of students tested positive for the virus.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: We're heading into the winter season, where we could be seeing the confluence of COVID-19 and influenza. This is the time for us to be reducing these high-risk situations as much as possible.

SANDOVAL: On Saturday, New Jersey saw its highest daily case count since early June. The state reported 760 new COVID-19 cases, marking the highest case count for the state since June 4th when 864 cases were reported, according to the state's COVID-19 data dashboard.

And the city of New York announced just over 1,000 additional cases. A slight uptick from the 908 cases reported Friday. The CDC predicting at least another 20,000 COVID-19 deaths by October 17th.


SANDOVAL: A COVID guidance panel this weekend with the National Institutes of Health is essentially calling now for further analysis for plasma convalescent therapy. You recall that just recently, the Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorization to be able to use that to treat COVID patients. Now that guidance panel is basically calling for these random trials to wrap up already so they can once and for all say how effective it is in terms of treating patients, that, of course, as they continue efforts to cure a COVID vaccine.

SAVIDGE: Polo Sandoval, thank you very much for that. It continues to be one of the dominant, if not the dominant story of our times. Thank you.

PAUL: Polo, thank you. So our next guest argues that Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's religious beliefs are not off-limits. Why her confirmation could raise new questions about religion and the Constitution.



PAUL: Following on a word we're just getting in to CNN here, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is set apparently to deliver remarks on the Supreme Court and President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. That happening now at 12:15 Eastern in Wilmington, Delaware.

As we get more on this, of course, we'll keep you updated.

SAVIDGE: And former Vice President Joe Biden has already called Barrett's nomination a threat to reproductive rights and the Affordable Care Act. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg must be turning over in her grave.

Senate Democrats are going to fight it but stuck in the minority and largely powerless to stop it.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Never underestimate the American people. We're going to take our case to them. They recognize that this process is a sham, illegitimate, barely a month before the election when voters in 11 states are already casting their ballots. They deserve a voice in this consequential choice.


SAVIDGE: Amy Coney Barrett is a devout Catholic and her faith has come up before at a confirmation hearing. In a past appearance under oath, Barrett was clear on how she feels about keeping faith separate from legal decisions.


AMY CONEY BARRETT, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: It's never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge's personal convictions whether they derive from faith or anywhere else on the law.


SAVIDGE: Our next guest wrote this in "Politico" ahead of her Supreme Court nomination. Quote, I don't think it's anti-Catholic to ask questions about Barrett's religious beliefs. On the contrary, I'm convinced they need to be front and center.

Massimo Faggioli is a church historian and a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University.



SAVIDGE: Let me ask you first off. What are your specific religious concerns when it comes to Judge Barrett?

FAGGIOLI: I'm not concerned. I think that there's a discussion to be had on what kind of Catholicism is shaping the Supreme Court because we live in an age when Catholic convictions, everybody's convictions in general are no longer considered private and totally separated from public life, as it was at a time of John Kennedy, for example.


So here we know that if Judge Barrett is member of a group that is not exactly representative of the average Catholic in the pew.

SAVIDGE: It's not that she's a Catholic, it's the fact that she belongs to a certain or specific branch that worries you, is that it?

FAGGIOLI: Absolutely. As a church historian, I'm familiar with the very nasty history of anti-Catholicism and I'm Catholic. I have never hidden my Catholicism in my classroom or in my -- so it's not being Catholic. But for example --

SAVIDGE: I don't want to get too deeply into the whole religious debate here. What I want to find out, how is it different, her strong faith -- clearly, she is very strong in her faith -- is any different from any other representative who may come from any number of other faiths, whether you're Muslim, whether you're Jewish. If you're devout, why is her devotion so much more problematic? I'm talking about Judge Barrett.

FAGGIOLI: Well, not problematic. I think it's something that should be discussed with membership in a particular group as -- in the same case that we should discuss in the case of the Jewish nominee or Muslim nominee. So the group she is a member of is known and -- not her particular group but that family of groups for having certain kinds of hierarchal structures --

SAVIDGE: That is true of all faiths. All faiths have a hierarchal structure. They all begin with God and come down from there.

And many faiths have specific rules as to how a person should abide in their lives and what they do.

So I'm wondering, again, what makes her particular faith that seems so problematic?


SAVIDGE: The real issue here is not so much her faith but in the terms of the court it would be her bias. That's what we're really talking about here. Is whether her faith in this particular case gives her a certain bias that would somehow impact the judgments she's likely to make? Most of these debates are going to be over the Constitution, of course. And w all have biases. Just because we can specifically name a religious group that she's a part of, there are other people who have biases. We don't know what they may be.

So, again, why is it her faith that becomes so much the concern, if she can set that bias aside to render a judgment?

FAGGIOLI: Again, it's not her faith. But she's member of the group that is part of that family of groups called Covenant Groups. So Covenant means that you are part of an alliance that binds members of a group in a particular way.

That's what's a little different from being a Catholic in the pew, like myself or like John Kennedy or John Kerry or Antonin Scalia. That is different.

And I think it's not politically expedient maybe for the Democrats to talk about that.

SAVIDGE: Let me ask you one last thing and I'll let you go. If you could ask a question of Judge Barrett on this topic, what would that question be? How would you phrase it?

FAGGIOLI: Well, what kind of relationship she has between that Covenant in her group and the fundamental values of the Constitution? Again, I don't expect to hear anything explosive. I don't think that any question of this kind should be labeled automatically anti- Catholic because this is preposterous.

SAVIDGE: I see your point.

All right. Professor Massimo Faggioli, thank you very much for joining us this morning. I do appreciate the conversation.

FAGGIOLI: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: This morning on "STATE OF THE UNION", Jake Tapper sits down with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Jill Biden, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.

"STATE OF THE UNION", it airs at 9:00 Eastern.

PAUL: So the SEC kicked off the season with fans in the stands. For the NFL teams, they've been slower to do the same as you know. What about today? We're live with you from New Orleans, next.

First, though, go inside the incredible story of the boy from Troy turned civil rights icon.


We're going to give you a preview now of the CNN Film "JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): If John Lewis wasn't doing what he did, I would not be here today.

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): Congressman Lewis gave us the blueprint. It is to organize. It is to mobilize. And it is to legislate.

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): This was a country that had a hard time loving people like John Lewis.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NY): John Lewis beat back numerous attempts over his career of people trying to alter voting rights.

JOHN LEWIS, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: No one can win the war independently.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I want to mention Representative John Lewis.

LEWIS: We came here to do our jobs. We came here to work.

We must say, wake up, America. Wake up.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His voice and his example are needed now as much as they have ever been.


REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): He's probably the most courageous person I ever met. I don't think I could have taken what he took.

LEWIS: We only pass this way once. You have to give it all you have.

ANNOUNCER: "JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE," tonight at 9:00 Eastern.




PAUL: So, LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers are going to the NBA finals again.

SAVIDGE: I so wanted to watch that game but due to something called sleep, I didn't get to. But my wife is a huge LeBron fan woke me up at 2:30 in the morning and delivered almost a play-by-play breakdown of every bucket LeBron made.

PAUL: Wow.

SAVIDGE: That was something.

Andy, I don't know. It's another in a long list of accomplishments for LeBron's career.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It is, Martin. You know, it seemed like he took a year off last year and now he's back in the NBA Finals. It's going to be nine out of ten years that LeBron James is playing in the NBA finals. It's his tenth finals overall, which is more than just three NBA teams. That's just incredible.

And LeBron was certainly on a mission in game 5 against the Nuggets last night. He scored nine straight points in the fourth quarter to really put this game away. He finished with 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.

The Lakers now back in the finals for the first time since 2010 after beating the Nuggets 117-107.


LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD: We're going to enjoy tonight as we should. This is not promised every year. We understand that we got bigger fish to fry. We understand that there's a bigger goal. We can't take this for granted because this doesn't happen every year to anybody.


SCHOLES: And the Lakers await the winners between the Heat and the Celtics. Game 6 of that series is tonight.

In the meantime, we had a wild day of college football yesterday. We were in Baton Rouge. A little more than 21,000 fans were in the stands to watch the defending champion LSU Tigers lose in their opener. Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello breaking an SEC record, throwing for more than 600 yards.

Mike Leach wins his first game with the Bulldogs upsetting sixth- ranked LSU, 44-34.

Now, all the SEC teams kicking off their seasons yesterday. All of the games had fans in the stands at a reduced capacity. The most was at Texas A&M where they had just over 24,000.

Now, the biggest upset of the day belonged to Kansas State. The Wildcats continue to be short-handed due to COVID-19. But that didn't stop them yesterday. They scored 24 unanswered to beat third ranked Oklahoma 38-35. They had a pretty cool celebration in the locker room after the game.

All right. Hockey, Dallas stars surviving to fight another day in the Stanley Cup finals. They won a thriller last night over the lightning, 3-2 in double overtime. Game 6 of that series is going to be tomorrow night.

In the meantime, week 3 of the NFL season continuing today. More and more teams will be allowing fans into the stands here in New Orleans. They're going to allow about 750 family members of the team to come watch the game against the Packers.

The Saints saying today's game is a test of the health and safety protocols. If things go well, they'll allow more fans at future games. This is a map of all the games allowing fans today in the NFL.

Martin and Christi, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said earlier this week, he expects a full Super Bowl on February 7th. Certainly has to wait and see if that happens. Not much time between now and then.

SAVIDGE: Yeah, no, we'll see how that happens. Andy, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Andy.

So, listen, there is a special reason -- this dad is dancing in a parking lot. We'll walk you through it. Brave man there.

For today's "Food as Fuel", CNN Health Reporter, Jacqueline Howard walks us through what foods we need to be choosing as we get older.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: A balanced diet is important at any age. But as we age, it can help to be more mindful of including certain nutrients in your diet. By your late teens, early 20s, you have up to 90 percent of peak bone mass. Calcium can help keep your bones healthy. Good sources of calcium are low-fat yogurt, kale and broccoli.

In your 30s and 40s, start thinking about adding more fiber to your diet. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and regulates blood sugar. It's found in black beans, Brussels sprouts, avocados and sweet potatoes. Insoluble fiber regulates bowel movements and it's found in whole grains, wheat bran and cauliflower and green beans.


Now, for adults 50 and older, focus on healthy fats. One study says replacing bad, saturated trans-fat with healthy unsaturated fats is linked with a 27 percent lower risk of dying. You can find unsaturated fats in seeds, nuts, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon.



PAUL: Want to show you how good people can be in our human kindness story for you today. This is out of Ft. Worth, Texas.

That's Chuck Yielding you see there, who believe it or not, is dancing and yet you see the hands behind the screen, he's connecting with his 14-year-old son Aiden who has leukemia.


And that's because right now only one parent can be by his son's side during his chemotherapy. That's, of course, due to COVID restrictions. So, every Tuesday, this is what dad does outside Aiden's hospital window.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHUCK YIELDING, DAD: We get out here just try to communicate, you know, best we can. Just need to bring his spirits up a little bit, let him know he's not alone and we're with him.

AIDEN YIELDING, 14-YEAR-OLD, RECEIVING CHEMO TREATMENT: It's funny, watching him figure out all he's going to do. Cheers me up sometimes.


PAUL: I bet Aiden is one watching this. Aiden's mom, Lori, works at the hospital and says this obviously is the most especially bond between father and son.

That's a good dad there, we wish Aiden and his family the very best as he hopefully recovers and gets better.

SAVIDGE: Absolutely.

PAUL: Yeah.

Marty, so good to have you here.

SAVIDGE: Thanks, Christi.

PAUL: Thank you all so much for spending your morning with us as well. We hope you make good memories today.

SAVIDGE: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King is up next.