CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD

Brain Dead Pregnant Woman Removed from Respirator; Barack Obama Prepares for State of the Union; Hillary Clinton Speaking in New Orleans; Update on Justin Bieber Troubles.

Aired January 27, 2014 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: An emotional saga that went from a hospital room to a courtroom is now over so to speak in Texas. A brain dead pregnant woman was removed from her respirator yesterday after a judge ruled the machines should be turned off.

Nick Valencia has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than two months after the legal battle began, it came to an end when Marlise Munoz was removed from the ventilator on Sunday morning. The attorneys released the segment: "At approximately 11:30 a.m. central, Marlise Munoz's body was disconnected from life support and released to Mr. Munoz." The families will proceed with the somber task of laying her body to rest and grieving over her loss.

Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant. Her husband, Erick, an EMT, found her unconscious on the kitchen floor. She was rushed to the hospital but two days later, was pronounced brain dead. The family, citing her wishes, that she did not want machines to keep her alive, asked doctors to remove her from the ventilator. The hospital refused, citing a 1989 Texas law, which made it illegal to remove life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant woman. The hospital's interpretation of the law led to a court battle finally resolved on Friday when a state district judge ruled that the law was only applicable to a living patient and ordered John Peters Smith Hospital to remove her from the ventilator.

HEATHER KING, MUNOZ FAMILY ATTORNEY: This was a sad situation all the way around. We are relieved that Erick Munoz can now move forward with the process of burying his wife.

(SINGING)

VALENCIA: On Sunday afternoon, protestors held an impromptu memorial service for the unborn fetus, praying for the Munoz family but condemning the decision.

RICK HORTON, ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVIST: We can empathize but we disagree with their decision to let the baby die needlessly. The plug was not only pulled on his wife but the plug to end the life was pulled on this innocent, unborn child.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Nick Valencia joins me live from Ft. Worth, Texas.

Look, Nick, maybe one aspect. Maybe that's the biggest aspect of this story, has come to an end. That's the crisis this family has been in. There is undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, in legal bills. Who is going to pay them? The hospital, the family, the state? Who is going to be on tap for this?

VALENCIA: Actually, the short answer is, with he don't know. Marlise Munoz was employed by children's hospital in Dallas. Because of HIPPA laws, they cannot release the details of her coverage plan. Without those details, it is virtually impossible to speculate the patient responsibility. What we do know is CNN legal analysts have contended that if the family does get stuck with these medical and legal bills, that they have a potential lawsuit on their hands because, from day one, they have wanted Marlise Munoz to be removed from the ventilator -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: I hope they don't end up in another protracted court fight.

Nick Valencia, live for us in Texas.

Some other top stories we are following right now. The FAA is ordering inspections on planes you probably fly. The Boeing 767, the work horse. Apparently, they are checking for problems that the FAA says could cause those planes to lose control. The FAA and Boeing have been looking into these problems since the year 2000, believe it or not. The planes have already been subject to earlier inspections. Today, the FAA said it has determined the potential problem with rivets could cause failures or jams, end quote that affect the plane's ability to climb or defend. Two pretty critical functions of airplanes, I dare say.

Avalanches have blocked the only highway to a place you may remember in the news 20 some odd years ago, Valdez, Alaska. The Richardson Highway will probably stay closed for about a week. The officials there have urged people to move out of their houses. This over the weekend, because apparently, water started to accumulate behind the snow, not to mention the debris from all of those avalanches. Remember, Exxon Valdez, Valdez, Alaska, 26 years ago, I think.

Senator Rand Paul just blasted her husband, Bill. Hillary Clinton speaks at a convention in New Orleans. Does she fire back? Does she talk about running for president or does she just talk? If that's the case, about what? That's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: That music makes me think the election eve is upon us, but it is not. It is the State of the Union eve. Time is running out to do the rewrites, punch-ups or, dare we say, tighten the only presidential message required by the Constitution. This year, top aide tells CNN that President Obama will stand before Congress and talk about the moves that he plans to make without them, without Congress. I added the nah part.

Wolf Blitzer joins me to shed some light.

There are a lot of people who are writing about this sort of ruling by fiat. It is part of our legislative process. It is allowed. Loads of presidents do it. Are we going to get a lot of grand ideas that go nowhere that is typical or get a lot of grand ideas that with the sign of the pen get done without Congress?

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: There is a limit to what the president can do. If he gets legislation passed, that becomes the law of the land. It is very difficult to change the law of the land. If it does it by executive order, he can sign these things into law, if you will. The next president, with the stroke of the pen on day one, can reverse that immediately just by signing another executive order. So that's the down side of doing these kinds of things by executive order that, under the lasting power, if you will, that the legislation, if it becomes the law of the land, would have.

The president, he made a lot of promises a year ago. I spent yesterday in part reading had is speech from last year, taking a look at all the specific proposals he had, the items on his agenda for last year. There were a good 10 or 12 specific things he wanted done in 2013. Didn't get a whole lot done.

Now, he tried. Republicans resisted. That's the nature of the ball game. He doesn't have control of the House of Representatives. The Republicans have a decisive majority there. This is the whole checks and balances. This is the whole nature of the business.

So I'm sure he will make a lot of promises. He may issue a lot of proposals in terms of dealing with income and equality, strengthening the middle class and all of that. Whether or not he can get that done, remains to be seen.

BANFIELD: Can I ask you about how the approval ratings play into that? The president is struggling with his approval rating at the last poll that we have got. It is a poll of polls. He only has 44 percent approval rating. That sort of stacks up evenly with George Bush at this juncture. President Clinton was somewhere around 58 percent, 59 percent. I think Reagan was somewhere around 64 percent, 65 percent. I'm going to give rough numbers. They were somewhere in that. What does this speech do, if anything, for the president?

BLITZER: If it is a powerful, great speech, maybe those numbers will go up. A lot of people, millions and millions of people, will be watching. When the president has negative job approval numbers in the 40s, the low 40s, 44 percent, whatever, those numbers can go up, can go down. It sends a message sometimes to his supporters in the Senate, in the House of Representatives and some who may be on the fence who are up for re-election may not necessarily be as automatically inclined to go ahead and stand with the president, a popular president can generate a lot more support among those legislators than someone who is seen as not all that popular.

That has a critical and practical impact. It does, if you look at six or eight potentially vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents right now. Will they go along and support the president on some of these sensitive issues or will they bolt and try to distance themselves from the president? Those jobs approval numbers can have an impact.

BANFIELD: Wolf, thank you for that.

I know you're getting busy for tomorrow. We are going to have a long day. I want to remind people, Wolf, you have your special coverage of the State of the Union. It starts officially tomorrow, 7:00 eastern on CNN. We always have the best coverage to make sure you tune in to us for all your State of the Union needs.

National Automobile Dealers Association is wrapping up its yearly expo in New Orleans. Normally, we probably wouldn't make news with that one. Come on, there are conventions everywhere, right? But the keynote speaker, yeah, yeah. Take a look. She didn't say nada. No. She was talking. The former first lady, Senator and secretary of state, may or may not be running for president in 2016. Certainly, today, as keynote, big smiles, not dropping any hints. She did say her biggest regret as secretary of state was the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Libya. That's going to be really tough in the campaign she may wage.

She talked a little bit about her family life, and I don't mean Bill and Chelsea. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I love the line about "become the person your dog thinks you are." I will remind myself of that when I go home to our three dogs. And I would like the dogs to be the kind of dogs we want them to be, too.

(LAUGHTER)

So it is sort of a two-way relationship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: As you can clearly see, that is not a teleprompted speech. She's still taking questions from a moderator. If we hear any bombshells, especially 2016, we are going to make sure we give them to you as well.

Justin Bieber is in Panama Beach. A district attorney is trying to decide whether or not, in California, he should be charged with a felony because of egg throwing. That's two incidents ago. This, on the other hand, is he going to get knocked with a DUI. OK. So much Bieber news. Is this really street cred you want, fellow?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: So this could be a big week for the Biebs. Detectives are close to presenting all of the egg attack evidence against Bieber to the L.A. district responsible for $20,000 in damages, because of the egging of his neighbor's house. Now all that seemed really crazy, until the arrest last week in Miami Beach, which is still a big talker, which led to the smiling mug shot. I don't know why he's smiling. If he wants street cred for rapping and you get arrested, I don't think you smile. That's just me.

Pamela Brown now looks at how the 19-year-old was MIA from the Grammys and Miami radio stations too.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Music's biggest night went on without one of pop's biggest stars. Justin Bieber jetting off to panama over the weekend, following a highly publicized arrest in Miami Beach just a few days prior. These pictures show one of the world's richest teens relaxing on the beach, with a water bottle in hand. A stark contrast from just last week, when the 19-year-old was arrested for driving under the influence, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest in Miami Beach early Thursday morning.

Also in Panama, mentor, R&B singer Usher, pictured here, posing with the same fan as Bieber.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in desperate need of guidance. Does he need six months of rehab? Probably not. But I do think he needs someone with adult supervision to say hey, you know what, it's time to grow up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god, Justin got pulled over.

BROWN: Back in the U.S., new details of Bieber's high-profile arrests are emerging. He blew a .014, lower than the limit for drivers under the age of 21, but failed a field sobriety test.

RAYMOND MARTINEZ, CHIEF, MIAMI-DADE POLICE: Mr. Bieber made a statement saying he had been smoking marijuana and consumed some prescription drug medication.

BROWN: This infamous rat race caught on this newly released video moments before officers brought the exotic cars to a halt. Police say he was driving almost double the 30 miles per hour speed limit. But the car company that owned Bieber's yellow Lamborghini said the car never exceeded 55 miles per hour according to the car's GPS tracking system. That still didn't stop a Bieber backlash. Radio stations in Miami boycotting his music until the megawatt celeb with a top-10 iTunes album gets his act together.

MICHAEL CARTER, DISC JOCKEY: We're no better than the parents supplying prescription drugs or being there when he's drinking booze if we're playing his music and enabling him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD: Interesting. Pamela Brown reporting for us.

I think that might be the first time I've heard of that. The opposite effect of what you're hoping for if you're Justin Bieber looking for the street cred in an arrest. I told you before the break, last time around, that Hillary Clinton is the keynote speaker at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention. And I also promised you if she said something about 2016, I would bring it to you. And I aim to please. Coming up after the break, she, indeed, addresses 2016. It's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: When you hear Creigh Deeds talk about how his son stabbed him multiple times, you will most likely be saddened, but also moved because it's a powerful story of the Virginia state Senator's deep love for his son, and his quest to introduce new mental health legislation so that his heartbreaking story will not become your heartbreaking story. Less than 24 hours before Deeds was stabbed November 19th, his son, Gus, had undergone an evaluation by mental health professionals while he was under emergency custody orders. But because no psychiatric beds happened to be available, the officials purportedly had to release Gus. Release him.

Deeds spoke to CBS' "60 Minutes" about that moment, the scars from the stabbing still on his face.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CREIGH DEEDS, FORMER VIRGINIA STATE SENATOR: The whole afternoon Gus didn't sit down. He paced the floor, he would look at me, he would smile. And I just had this sinking feeling that he wasn't going to be hospitalized.

UNIDENTIFIED "60 MINUTES" CORRESPONDENT: And if you didn't find a hospital bed in six hours, Gus was coming home.

DEEDS: He was coming home. And I was concerned that if he came home, there was going to be a crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED "60 MINUTES" CORRESPONDENT: You're concerned your son is suicidal. The clock has run out on the emergency room, and he comes in and says, sorry, you've got to leave.

DEEDS: He said that Gus wasn't suicidal. I guess he made that evaluation.

UNIDENTIFIED "60 MINUTES" CORRESPONDENT: That was his evaluation.

DEEDS: That Gus wasn't suicidal.

UNIDENTIFIED "60 MINUTES" CORRESPONDENT: What did you say to him, in leaving the emergency room?

DEEDS: I said, the system failed my son tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: Well, Deeds went out to the barn to feed the horses. His son came across the yard with a knife. Deeds was stabbed in the chest and in the head. Gus turned a gun on himself, and was dead. Here is a programming note for you. Creigh Deeds will be talking to Anderson Cooper tonight on "Anderson 360" at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

I want to take you back to the Automobile Dealers Association where Hillary Clinton is the keynote speaker and addressed a question about plans for 2016. Have a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Any do-overs that you would -- relative to secretary of state?

CLINTON: Oh, sure. I mean, you know, you make these choices based on imperfect information. And you make them to -- as we say, the best of your ability. But that doesn't mean that there's not going to be unforeseen consequences, unpredictable twists and turns. You know, my biggest, you know, regret is what happened in Benghazi. It was a terrible tragedy, losing four Americans to diplomats and now it's public, so I can say to CIA operatives, losing an ambassador like Chris Stevens, who was one of our very best and had served in Libya and across the middle east and spoke Arabic.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. What are your plans for 2016?

(CHEERING)

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Sorry. You know I had to ask that.

CLINTON: Yes, you did. You did. I understand. And I have to say, I don't know.

(LAUGHTER)

Not a very satisfactory answer, I know. But, you know, the -- what I have said and what I will keep saying, although I don't think I am getting through very effectively, is that, you know, we have a lot of issues right now that need to be dealt with. And we need to get -- and I was very pleased that we got a budget agreement, for example. I'm hoping that we get past this next debt limit, you know, challenge. Because I know how the rest of the world watches us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: I want to be real clear here. Those were two separate sound bites that we tried to get to as quickly as possible, what we call tape turns. One of them was about Benghazi and another that was completely separate and a different time, was about her thoughts about 2016. It was brought in while she was laughing about something completely unrelated at a different time. That is our mistake. She was not laughing. Let's be very clear that the secretary of state was not laughing about the previous comments about Benghazi. That was just a quick but-thought, we call it. Butted sound bite. But there you have it, comments about 2016.

Thanks so much for watching, everyone.

AROUND THE WORLD starts right now.