Return to Transcripts main page


Chris Christie's Big Decisions; Mayor Filner Under Fire; New Threats from Al Qaeda

Aired August 19, 2013 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: The mayor accused of sexual harassment by more than a dozen women gets ready to go back to work. Live during this show, his supporters are holding a rally.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

(voice-over): The homes of celebrities and millionaires at risk, as flames erupt.

Marijuana, guns and now gay conversion therapy. In a span of days, Chris Christie making big decisions on hot button issues. We will debate.

Plus, Oprah Winfrey's newest hire comes clean with Oprah. Hmm.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the baby, the new royal heir in the United Kingdom.

BALDWIN: ... in his first interview since becoming a dad, Prince William tells CNN the biggest surprise.

HRH PRINCE WILLIAM OF WALES, UNITED KINGDOM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: I think more shock and dauntingness is more like the feeling I felt.


BALDWIN: Top of hour two. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Let me get straight to this news, just in to us here at CNN. The Los Angeles Police Department confirming this Disney tragedy. Actor Lee Thompson Young has been found dead in Los Angeles. This is from just a couple hours ago. The cause of his death not clear at this time. He starred in "The Famous Jett Jackson" and currently stars in the TNT show "Rizzoli & Isles."

As soon as we get any more information on this young actor, we will pass it along to you here on CNN.

Bob Filner, you know the man, mayor of San Diego, laundry list of sexual harassment allegations against him, including:


PEGGY SHANNON, FILNER ACCUSER: He came up to me without any warning when I was outside going home, and hugged me and kissed me, and I was appalled.

I was shocked, and it's not something that I thought that the mayor would ever do.

MORGAN ROSE, FILNER ACCUSER: I just remember him trying to get my face towards his to kiss me on the mouth, and what we now know from the stories of the other women, it wouldn't have been on my mouth; it would have been more likely in my mouth or down my throat.

EMILY GILBERT, FILNER ACCUSER: Hugged me a little too closely and then put his arm around me like this, and then he proceeded to slide his arm down and then give a little grab to my derriere.

BOB FILNER (D), MAYOR OF SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: It's your newly favorite Congressman Bob Filner, the one who fell in love with you at your last speech.


BALDWIN: Sources are telling CNN Mayor Filner back at work tomorrow after taking some time out to undergo behavior therapy.

But, right now, something is happening in San Diego in response to this story, protests staged across the city along with petitions to see the mayor kicked out of office. But you know what's happening right now? A support rally is under way.

And Casey Wian is there for us.

Casey, gosh, I don't see many people behind you. I don't know if it's begun yet. But tell me if there is any turnout and what supporters of Mayor Filner have to say.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It hasn't started yet. It's expected to start in a couple minutes.

You may be able to see over my right shoulder some of these folks, several dozen of them, who have begun to gather here. They are going to be holding a press conference in support of Mayor Filner. They say they want due process. They say that he has not been convicted, not even charged with any crime, that he has had some personal failings but they still want him to remain mayor of this city.

They also say that they are skeptical of some of the stories of the women who have come forward, even though Mayor Filner himself has admitted to inappropriate behavior. What this seems to be all about, though, Brooke, is politics. Let's listen to what the organizer had to say.


ENRIQUE MORONES, FILNER SUPPORTER: I know he's stepping on a lot of toes. It's been 20 years since we had a Democrat in office. I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Republican. I'm independent. But I know that Mayor Filner since being a Freedom Rider as a teenager to being the mayor has always stood side by side with the most oppressed communities, and we want to let the mayor know we are standing side by side with him.


WIAN: Now you can hear them singing "We Shall Overcome."

They just finished that. While this is going on, organizers of the recall petition are actually gathering signatures in an get Mayor Filner out of office. A man who just lost to him in the most recent election was at the city clerk's office today calling out labor leaders and other San Diego politicians to support the effort to get him to resign.

Meanwhile, we have got these people behind supporting him. What we have really got here is political theater. The personal failings of a man have evolved into politics...


BALDWIN: Let me watch some of this, as they are speaking over you and suddenly behind me. Can I have you step out of the way, Casey? Perfect. Let's take a listen to the supporters of Mayor Bob Filner.

MORONES: ... of our judicial system. Due process for Mayor Filner and due process for the accusers. Let's get back to business of moving the region forward with Mayor Bob Filner.

So we want to begin this press conference with a prayer. We have invited Bishop Curan (ph), Pastor Ray Smith (ph) and some others to do the opening prayer.


BALDWIN: As we're watching several dozen now supporters of Mayor Bob Filner, he has undergone these two weeks of intensive behavioral therapy. Obviously, Casey points out this is politics here, and as he also pointed out, there is a petition rolling around gaining signatures of folks who want him out of office.

Casey Wian for us in San Diego, Casey, thank you.

Let me move on now to these new threats from al Qaeda. They are coming from an American, Adam Gadahn. You know this name. California native, spokesman for al Qaeda, has released a 39 minute video. Gadahn is telling followers to attack U.S. ambassadors all around the world. Gadahn also praises the assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.

CNN's Brian Todd is following the developments on this one for us today.

Brian, you have seen this video. What are some of the specific threats that he's making?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, this is chilling when you consider this guy's background. Born and raised in Southern California, he is now calling on wealthy Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere to offer rewards for killing American ambassadors in the Middle East, saying -- quote -- "These prizes have a great effect in instilling fear in the hearts of our cowardly enemies" -- end quote.

Adam Gadahn's latest video posted and analyzed in recent days by the SITE Intelligence Group. That's a terrorist monitoring service. Speaking in Arabic, he also has lavish praise for the militants who killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens last year in Benghazi. Take a listen.


ADAM GADAHN, AL QAEDA (through translator): The American ambassador in Libya and three of his colleagues were killed to avenge the honor of the prophet -- peace and prayers of Allah be upon him -- and to avenge the blood of hundreds of thousands of America's victims worldwide, including thousands of innocent Libyans.

The American ambassador in Libya was killed to heal the chests of believers and enrage the criminals.


TODD: Now, the SITE Intelligence Group says this video was actually made in March of this year, so did it have any bearing on the recent decision by U.S. officials to close America's embassies in the Middle East?

An administration official just told me moments ago this video was not specifically a factor in that decision, Brooke.

BALDWIN: You reminded us off the top about how Adam Gadahn raised in California. Tell us more. What more do you know about him?

TODD: We found out that he is almost 35 years old. He was born in Winchester, California. Both of his parents were goat farmers. He has at least one pair of grandparents who are Jewish. Family members have said he was obsessed with heavy metal music as a teenager, but converted to Islam in 1995. He did have a run-in with the leader of a mosque in Orange County, California, where he converted.

He was arrested for assaulting that man. His family says he moved to Pakistan in 1998 and according to our security analyst Peter Bergen, that is likely where he is right now.

BALDWIN: Brian Todd, thank you.

Make sure you all tune in to watch Brian Todd and his reporting on "THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER" 5:00 Eastern time here on CNN.

Brian, thank you.

TODD: Thanks.

BALDWIN: A stalled front is drowning parts of the Southeast. For example, we will show you pictures. This is Gulfport, Mississippi. Six inches of rain fell alone there yesterday, you can see, flooding the streets, stranding so many drivers.

Flood watches and warnings are in place all the way from the Florida Panhandle northward to the Carolinas. People trying to leave a church in Gulfport either had to wade through the waist-deep water or wait for it to recede. South Florida, rip currents very, very dangerous. Police report 50 rescues. In fact, an elderly couple drowned.

And families are being told to get out as this incredibly dangerous wildfire scorches the community of Sun Valley, Idaho. The fire has grown to more than 100,000 acres, much of this part of the country home to a lot of pricey property. You have actor Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis. They have places there. And then the fire crews, 1,200 firefighters working tirelessly to gain ground on the flames, trying to save the thousands of homes still in this fire's path.

Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss is among those just saying thank you, expressing gratitude for these fire crews. You see here this was his tweet. "The Beaver Creek fire is ravaging my family's hometown, Ketchum, Idaho. Thank you, firefighters, and be safe. Houses aren't worth lives."

CNN's Ted Rowlands joins me from Hailey, Idaho.

Ted, I hear you just got back from a fire walk. Tell me what you saw.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, there are three main parts of this fire that they're concerned about.

And of course, the wind is the biggest concern. And they're attacking all three of them (INAUDIBLE) Ketchum specifically, where these million-dollar homes are. They really have been successful so far. And they're hoping that they can save these homes. Only one home lost. There are 5,000 that are threatened (INAUDIBLE)

What's interesting, there are so many high-priced homes here that insurance companies have hired private firefighters to stand outside those high-priced homes and protect them. (INAUDIBLE) But the folks here say they are actually welcome to have them here because they couldn't possibly protect all 5,000 of those homes. But it's just more people in this army, if you will, trying to protect these homes. (INAUDIBLE)

BALDWIN: Ted, I got to admit, it is tough to hear you. I don't know if it's the wind. I don't know if it's equipment around you, but Ted Rowlands, maybe we can try that again. Ted, thank you, in Idaho for us, on the huge fire there.

Coming up next, he has tackled gun control, medical marijuana, today, gay conversion therapy. Folks, that is just over the past couple of days. I'm talking about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He's talking about compromise being a model for the rest of the country. So, does that mean anything about a possible presidential run? We will read between the lines of the governor's recent actions.

Plus, the world watched as he became a father and now Prince William is talking to CNN. This is his first interview since the birth of the royal baby.


PRINCE WILLIAM: It's nice that people want to see George. I'm just glad he wasn't screaming his head off.


BALDWIN: Next, what he says about this so-called modern -- modern monarchy -- if I can spit that out -- and about how he's ready to get some sleep now -- next.


BALDWIN: He may be the future king of England, but right now he's just dad. For the first time since the birth of his son, George, Prince William is opening up about parenthood and, of course, he also talked about this moment, this magical moment, really, when you see him walking out of the hospital with his wife, son, into the crowds, the media frenzy.

CNN's royal correspondent Max Foster sat down with Prince William for his very first official interview since the little prince was born.

Hey, Max.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The prince says baby George is already quite a character.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Well, yes, he's a little bit of a rascal, we'll put it that way. So he either reminds me of my brother or me when I was younger. I'm not sure. But he's doing very well at the moment. He does like to keep having his nappy changed. And --

FOSTER (on camera): You did the first nappy, of course?

PRINCE WILLIAM: I did the first nappy, yes, exactly.

FOSTER: The badge of honor.

PRINCE WILLIAM: It was a badge of honor, actually. I wasn't allowed to get away with that. I had every midwife staring at me going, you do it, you do it. He's a little - he's growing quite quickly, actually, but he's a little fighter. He kind of wiggles around quite a lot and he doesn't want to get to sleep (ph) that much, which is a little bit of a problem, but he's --

FOSTER: So you're up a lot at night. You're pretty tired.

PRINCE WILLIAM: A little bit, yes. Not as much as Catherine, but, you know, she's - she's doing a fantastic job.

FOSTER: How is she, OK?

PRINCE WILLIAM: Yes, she's very well. For me, Catherine and our little George are my priorities, and Lupo. And so -

FOSTER: I was going to ask you about Lupo.


FOSTER: How's Lupo coping?

PRINCE WILLIAM: He's coping all right, actually. I mean as a lot of people know who've got dogs and bringing a newborn back, they take a little bit of time to adapt. There's some - no, he's been all right so far. He's been slobbering sort of around the house a bit. So he's a - he's perfectly happy.

FOSTER: And how are you about going back to work?

PRINCE WILLIAM: Well, as a few fathers might know, I'm actually quite looking forward to going back to work.

FOSTER: Get some sleep.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Get some sleep, exactly, yes. So I'm just hoping the first few shifts I go back I don't have any night jobs.


FOSTER: Brooke, I think the sense that I got from this interview was just the real Prince William.

I sometimes had an insight into it, but we have never really seen it on camera before. I think that's because I caught him in the first two weeks of fatherhood. He was tired, he was emotional, he was still euphoric after it all. And he and the duchess are doing everything on their own. They are being thoroughly modern parents.

Royalty hasn't behaved like that before. They have had this army of staff that they have relied on, but he put the car seat in, he drove off. They're doing the nappies. They're getting up at night and I think he's got a sense into what it's like to be ordinary and, as a result, we have been able to connect with him as an ordinary person.

So I think we have got a sense of a modern monarchy here. It may not be an intentional redesign by William, but he's being himself and that's probably what's changed and what the new world now and the new world for monarchy will experience for the next few years, because George will pick up on that as well and probably develop it a bit further in his day.

BALDWIN: Max, I loved how he talked to you about his first nappy duty, the diaper duty. Max Foster, thank you very much.

By the way, you can see much more of Max's interview September 15. It's our documentary. We're calling it "Prince William's Passion: New Father, New Hope," only here on CNN.

You know, it is something we were taught at a very young age, pick up the phone in the case of an emergency, dial 911. Well, a Texas woman did exactly that and is now facing a lawsuit from the officer who responded. We will tell you why.

Plus, the lead singer of this pop band says he was abducted, he was beaten and then dumped on the train tracks, but this mystery gets more bizarre. That's next.


BALDWIN: They are the shocking claims by the lead singer of this band called The Calling. You remember these guys? Take you back to 2001, they made this little piece of pop gold, "Wherever You Will Go."

Now the lead singer, Alex Band, says he was abducted, beaten and dumped on train tracks in Michigan. His bandmates say they found him at 3:00 in the morning on Sunday when they went looking for him. Band filed the police report claiming a group in a blue van came up to him and grabbed him, severely beat him.

And we checked out his Twitter page. And so his tweet from Friday was this. "Thankful to be back on stage doing what I love. First show back is The Calling tonight."

I should tell you, there are some questions circulating about the timing of the announcement of the comeback and the incident. We're looking into it.

And some pretty incredible video in southwest Japan. Day turns into dusk in a flash. This volcano explodes, shooting plumes of ash three miles into the air. Look at that, caking a city in dust, shutting down trains. Men and women, look at this, wearing gas masks covering their faces, raincoats, drivers turning on the headlights. They say it's kind of like driving through snow at night.

Chad Myers, when you look at this volcano, this thing has erupted 500 times since the beginning of the year; 500?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I would call that one continuous eruption, but not really. There's all these little puffs.

Think about it like a pressure cooker that goes -- because that's what it's doing, just puff, puff, puff.


MYERS: This time, though, 15,000 feet in the air. That's not where the planes fly. We're not to 40,000 feet, but this is a popular route for planes going from America all the way into Southeastern Asia. So it goes right over -- literally the flight track goes right over this volcano.

So far, I guess not worried about it too much.

BALDWIN: Could this thing...

MYERS: Well, you know, think about if you had a pressure cooker and you allowed it to go all day long. It would eventually run out of water but if you stopped it, if you stopped that depressurization, eventually there would be more pressure in there and it could explode, sure.

But, for now, every little puff is releasing a little bit of pressure, rather than it building up to be a Mount Saint Helens.

BALDWIN: So you see the people.

MYERS: It's amazing.


MYERS: You said it's like a snowstorm. It's way worse than a snowstorm. You don't die in a snowstorm because of breathing that stuff in. They have masks on, they have been wearing these M-95 masks all over the place and they have been sweeping, sweeping this dust out of their city here. I don't think I want to be there. Go on vacation somewhere else.


BALDWIN: That's the reality for many in Japan though right now. Look at those pictures. Unreal.

Chad Myers, you very much.

MYERS: You got it.

BALDWIN: And coming up next, there is all kinds of speculation around this one man in New Jersey. Talking about Governor Chris Christie tackling issues like gun control, medical marijuana, gay conversion therapy in a matter of days. He said something today that has a lot of people thinking about a presidential run. We will debate that with my panel ahead.

Plus, we are just getting word a man has died at the home of singer Olivia Newton-John from a gunshot. We're getting details. That's next.


BALDWIN: Bottom of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

All right. I'm going to throw a name at you. Lindsay Lohan. Go ahead, fill in the blank. Train wreck, spoiled, out of control? Guess what? She is sick of those labels, so Lohan is trying to redefine herself, and she used perhaps the perfect forum for her career redemption, Oprah Winfrey.

In a one-on-one interview just a couple days after leaving rehab, Lohan talked about everything from drinking, drugs, her parents, to this image, the rich and famous starlet in cuffs in trouble yet again. Lohan sat there and told Oprah she wants to rebuild her career and rehabilitate her reputation, and she admitted she has used cocaine.


LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: I really hadn't done it. I really haven't done it more than 10 to 15 times. Of course, I said three or four. I was terrified of being judged.


LOHAN: I have done it like 10, 15 times.

WINFREY: Do you enjoy doing it?


LOHAN: Everything's come...

WINFREY: Do you enjoy doing it?

LOHAN: No. No.

WINFREY: So, why did you do it?


LOHAN: Because it allowed me to drink more. I think that's why I did it.


BALDWIN: Well, then now there's this. Lindsay Lohan now works for Oprah's OWN network, putting together this eight-part documentary on her struggles with rehab.

I want to bring in Jawn Murray, the editor in chief of

Jawn Murray, nice to see you. Let's listen to this, just her words. I'm sure you have seen the interview. Do you believe her? Do you want to believe her?

JAWN MURRAY, ALWAYSALIST.COM: Well, Brooke, I have seen all the interviews. Every time she went to court, every time she got out of jail, every time she went to a rehab, there was a major network interview.

But this one seemed to be different. She seemed to be present. She seemed to be coherent. She seemed to be honest. There was a lot of accountability in this interview. I actually believe her. Lindsay Lohan is like a cat. She's had nine lives. This may be number seven, but it may be the one that has the biggest turn and a turn in the right direction.

BALDWIN: I know it was our own Piers Morgan, he took to Twitter today because he saw the interview as well. And it was -- it was Piers Morgan who she talked to him a couple months ago and that U.K. newspaper and said, "I have only done cocaine three or four times."

He says he feels lied to. Again, maybe the truth has finally come out.