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Benghazi Is Reason To Run For White House; Did Hagel Okay POW Trade?; Sleep Deprivation Suspected In Morgan Crash; O.J. Simpson Case 20 Years Later

Aired June 10, 2014 - 07:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching NEW DAY. Bottom hour, welcome back. Let's get you to "Inside Politics" on NEW DAY with John King. John King, there is a memoir coming out today, I think?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": Are you going to take Chris and Michaela and get in line and get a book?

BALDWIN: I don't even know when the store opens. That is going to be a mess. She hopes a lots will show up.

CUOMO: I'm waiting for the movie.

KING: There will be one or two or three or four and let's get straight to that inside politics this morning. Back to you guys in a minute. With me to share their reporting and their insight this morning, Julie Pace of the "Associated Press" and Manu Raju of "Politico."

Let's get to the big event this week, which is the Hillary rollout. It is a huge event. A media blitz including questions about her record at the State Department. Remember she was the secretary of state when four Americans were killed in Benghazi, Libya. Republicans say she ignored or they didn't get to her desk maybe. Repeated warnings about security. Here is Hillary Clinton saying the Republicans playing politics.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: What I do not appreciate is politicizing this at the expense of four dead Americans. That is not what we used to do in this country. With 258 Americans were killed in Beirut in two separate attacks. People were mourned and people were shocked. Decisions were made. Bring them out and strengthen the embassy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that another reason not to run?

CLINTON: No, actually, it's more of a reason to run because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball. We ought to be in the majors and I view this as really apart from even a diversion from the hard work that the Congress should be doing about the problems facing our country and the world. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Julie Pace, strong pushback on the policy. Essentially saying look, bad things happen and see what you can do so they don't happen again and leaning very forward on the politics. It's a reason to run. I think the one thing that is crystal clear from the book and everything she has said in these interviews is that she is running.

JULIE PACE, "ASSOCIATED PRESS": Absolutely. I don't think that Benghazi in the end is going to be the reason she says, OK, I'm definitely jumping in now because of Benghazi. I think it shows on this issue they will try to take the offensive position. They are going to be aggressive on it. She will not shirk aware from this and take this on everything from the rollout has shown us that. I think that is a smart move knowing that this is going to be at the forefront of the Republican pushback against her.

KING: If you know what your opposition is coming at you with, take it first and get ahead of them, but the Republicans won't back off Benghazi.

MANU RAJU, "POLITICO": She is trying to portray this as a partisan she believes is her best line of attack and White House making a similar argument. She has a difficult balancing act here because four Americans were killed on her watch and she did acknowledge some level of responsibility in that interview last night.

But she also said that, look, I'm not the person who does the security. I'm not the person who knows all of the ins and out of the security of the compound so she is trying to show, yes, I'm responsible but, at the same time, you can't really hold me accountable for this. We will see how that works and how that plays to voters.

KING: I think the question Republicans will try to get out is the culture of management. Why did not these dozens of warnings get to her desk? Yes, she doesn't do the security. We will see if that plays out. If there a weakness in the rollout so far it's her answer, I think, to the question Diane Sawyer asked her about the big speaking fee. She's made a reported $5 million since leaving the State Department.

Remember this is 2014. So 2013, 2014, she is making this money. She is talking about when Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton left the White House back in 2001 about how broke they were, how in debt they were. It tells you I think they is a little rusty as a politician. She needs a better answer to that.

But number two, it also tells you how the Republicans as we have talked about the Democratic consultants, the money all going to Hillary land, America rising is one of the many Republican groups that fired back immediately on this showing pictures from a web site of the two houses. Talked about her two mansions. What should she have handled that part better? She seems a little detached.

RAJU: She could have said we are fortunate for the position we are in financially. Diane Sawyer asking do you think Americans would take this seriously that you, one, speaking you have 200,000 is four times median income in this country and she probably could have had a better answer to that. Maybe she is rusty. Anything she says right on now is under the microscope even if she is not running for president at this exact moment. It's basically a presidential campaign and she should be prepared for that.

KING: She seemed a little flat-footed there. As a Democrat, she should have known --

PACE: This is an issue that comes up in every presidential election because you have a lot of wealthy people that run for office. Candidates should just be prepared with an answer and I think to say look back when we were in debt. A lot of Americans end up in debt, but a lot of Americans aren't in the position to have big speaking fees and sign multimillion dollar book contracts so does risk looking pretty detached.

KING: She took the money. She needs to own it and say it's crazy what the market pays for these speeches, but I'm there in that market and I'll take the money and I give a lot to charity. It's a better answer than saying I was broke 15 years ago, I think.

Let's move on to the Bowe Bergdahl political fallout. Briefings on Capitol Hill. The administration sending up officials trying to calm the political furor, but so far it's backfiring. Listen here to House Arm Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon last night how they sent up people there and he says administration seems to be trying to pass the buck from the White House over to the Pentagon.


REPRESENTATIVE BUCK MCKEON (R), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It was the president of the United States that came out with the Bergdahl's who took all of the credit. And now there has been a little pushback, he is moving away from it and Secretary Hagel. I don't think so. I think this is the president's decision.


KING: How are they handling this? You're at the White House every day. By law, Secretary Hagel has to certify if you're going to release prisoners from Guantanamo, but there is no question the final call here was made by the commander-in-chief.

PACE: Absolutely. There is no way that this was signed off on without Obama's approval. I think what Buck McKeon and other lawmakers were talking about is the legal process where Chuck Hagel actually has to sign off and say they have mitigated these risks. I think that is Hagel's role in this. More broadly an understanding at the staff level at the White House right now that this is a political problem.

That this is going to stay in the spotlight and they are going to be answering questions for weeks on this. But when you listen to the president, he spoke as recently as Friday on this. He is defiant and he is going to standby what he did. I don't think you'll see him moving off of that any time soon.

KING: In "Politico" this morning, Alison Grimes is the Democratic challenger to Mitchell McConnell in Kentucky. A couple of weeks I gave her credit. I thought she struck the right tone for someone trying to convince a red state to on send a Democrat to dysfunctional Washington. Here is the ad.


ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D), SENATE CANDIDATE: It is going to take a nation to help Kentucky rise up to do this and Alison's army. As I look out today amongst the quality that is here, I know this is the army that will help to get it done.


KING: OK, that is not the ad. We got that backwards. That is the "Politico" recording that you obtained of this fundraiser. She runs this ad saying I'm going to Washington and send a message to Democratic leads. And does not mention her concerns about a policy she had promised to do. You say in your store and she talks how close she is to the Democratic leader, Harry Reid. This could be a huge problem for her back home.

RAJU: It is. Republicans jumping all over this saying that, you know, she says one thing in Kentucky and she does another thing in D.C. And as we have seen all these red state Democrats who are running right now, are trying to show distance from the president. Show distance from the National Democratic Party saying we are not like them. When she comes to Washington and shows something different it shows maybe she is not what she says she is and this is a problem for her going forward.

KING: You can see the McConnell campaign using this very quickly to say she is just another politician.

RAJU: Expect a distained ad by it.

KING: Great story in "Politico' today. Manu, thanks for coming in. Julie Pace as well. As we close today, let's end with late night funnies and because Hillary Clinton is in the news. She has a book tour and signing this morning. Guess what? She is also a star of late night funnies.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, NBC'S "THE TONIGHT SHOW": New interview Hillary Clinton said that she wants to travel this year and won't make any announcements about her plans to run for president until 2015. When asked where she will travel, she said, New Hampshire, Iowa, maybe spend a few months in Florida. Love this country so much. I'm talking about a vacation here.


KING: See that? Late night political correspondent, Jimmy Fallon. BALDWIN: I can't imagine what those states have in common.

CUOMO: It's funny because it's true. Thank you very much, John King. Take a little break in NEW DAY. When we come back, we have new video from the scene of the deadly crash that left comedian, Tracy Morgan, critically injured and new questions about the condition of the driver charged with causing the accident.

BALDWIN: Also ahead, can you believe 20 years ago this week, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were found stabbed to death. O.J. Simpson's murder trial highlighted racial tensions in this country and today, fascinating new poll number showing exactly how attitudes have shifted and evolved the last two decades. Stick around.


BALDWIN: New questions this morning in that highway crash that critically injured comedian, Tracy Morgan, and left another man dead. Police say the 35-year-old truck driver facing charges of vehicular homicide had been awake for 24 consecutive hours before the crash. Also this morning, take a look for yourself. This is our first look at video that TMZ obtained from the crash scene.

CNN's Nischelle Turner joins us with much more. The screams and people being carried in that video.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: In our cell phone video age, it was a matter of time before we would see this video from the crash scene and it depicts the horror and the chaos of the night.


TURNER (voice-over): Startling video obtained by TMZ shows actor, Tracy Morgan, being pulled from the Mercedes limo van the night he was critically injured. A publicist for the former "30 Rock" star says Morgan, a father of four, is in critical, but stable, condition dispelling amputation rumors following surgery on a broken leg saying those rumors are, quote, "completely fabricated."

And now new details from a criminal complaint say the driver of the truck that hit Morgan and others hadn't slept for a period in excess of 24 hours, possibly the cause of the crash.

MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR AND LEGAL ANALYST: There are very strict federal laws that -- that dictate what drivers can do and what they can't do and they just went into effect. You don't drive for more than eight hours in a row. You got to take a 30-minute break and in a 14-hour day of working, you can't be behind the wheel for more than 11 hours.

TURNER: The 35-year-old Kevin Roper is being charged with vehicular homicide for operating a vehicle recklessly and charged with assault by auto on those injured in the accident including Morgan. Limo driver described the chaos after the crash by phone to ABC.

TYRONE GALE, LIMO DRIVER (via telephone): I climbed around and heard Tracy screaming for help, but I couldn't reach him and pull him. I don't know if we flipped several times or one time.

TURNER: The van was overturned and crushed by the impact from the truck. Morgan's friend comedian, James Mcnair, known as Jimmy Mac, was killed in the wreck.

TRACY MORGAN, COMEDIAN: Live from New York, it's Saturday night!

TURNER: Morgan shot to fame as a long time cast member on "SNL." His cast mate Seth Meyers spoke to CNN's Jake Tapper about his friend.

SETH MEYERS, HOST LATE NIGHT: Certainly our thoughts and prayers from everybody on the staff. Tracy was a vet at "SNL" when I started and always looked out for me so I'm definitely thinking of him now.


TURNER: Now Kevin Roper, the trucker, did turn himself into police on Saturday. He was released on $50,000 bail, but he will be in court on Wednesday to answer the charges and be arraigned and with what he is being charged with, one count of vehicular homicide and four counts of injury by auto. If convicted, he could face up to 13 years in jail.

BALDWIN: Just a couple of days, a Senate committee voting to maybe loosen rules on sleep deprivation and truckers. So who knows if that will be affected by this accident or not.

TURNER: Yes, Rene Marsh has been reporting on that even before this crash and she was reporting yesterday that now this crash could be a central issue in this debate, in this topic they are having now.

CUOMO: We will stay on it for sure and of course, update on Tracy Morgan's condition as we get new information.

Coming up on NEW DAY, it's been 20 years, since the O.J. Simpson trial was must-see TV. Today we are going to tell you about a fascinating new poll that shows just how opinions have changed and how they may have stayed the same in some ways. So who says O.J. Simpson was guilty? We will break it down for you by the numbers.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Good to have you with us. This mark, if you can believe it, marks two decades before the start of one of the most infamous murder cases in the last century, O.J. Simpson, accused of killing his ex-wife and her friend led to a car chased that millions, remember this, watched live on TV.

The trial watched live on TV exposing raw racial tensions in Los Angeles and around the nation, and even though a jury eventually acquitted O.J. Simpson of murder, attitudes him changed, especially the African-American community. We want to look at this. Bringing in our CNN correspondent, Don Lemon, always a pleasure to have you here bright and early in the morning.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good to be here. PEREIRA: We know, of course, this trial so highlighted and racial divide in the country, but there's this poll. I want to show you the numbers. Let's take a look at 1994. A large majority of whites thought Simpson was guilty, 6 in 10 African-Americans believed the charges against Simpson were not true.

Fast forward, 20 years later, look at the numbers now. Look at that. A majority of African-American now say the murder charges against Simpson were true. What do you think, and we have evolved as a culture, what has happened, what is the shift?

LEMON: Well, I think that, you know, we've come to realize that's true and what's not over time, when you get to know someone personally, right? We have seen lots of O.J. Simpson, and I think that people looked at the -- whites and blacks looked at the evidence, the facts and came up with different conclusions because of preconceived notions.

We all come to life with different filters. So I think many people looked at it objectively and they found O.J. Simpson guilty or not guilty, but I also think that many people looked at it and said, OK, this is a beautiful blond white woman and this guy killed by this black man. The black man is guilty.

And then you have African-Americans who many of them are looked upon suspiciously and saw O.J. Simpson as some who was being set up by the system, being set up by the man and therefore, they drew their own conclusions as well.

PEREIRA: What do you think when you look specifically at the number of African-Americans? This is what I find interesting. A huge jump to over a half that now believe the charges are true? I've had conversations with people and watched their attitudes change, all of us have changed.

BALDWIN: What do they say?

CUOMO: How is it only 53 percent think he's guilty? I'm surprised the number is not higher.

LEMON: Many African-Americans have a different take what it's like to walk around as a person in America.

CUOMO: It's not about the evidence, about the feelings, system, how that evidence was collected, and --

LEMON: And they thought the evidence was tainted. You had Mark Fuhrman and the "n" word, all that race played into it, but then you also had the Los Angeles Police Department, which we all know there are issues with race in the Los Angeles Police Department and then we don't -- let's not forget. Not too long before that we had Rodney King, which is out there as well. So that played into the --

PEREIRA: It was a very different time. Los Angeles --

LEMON: Not the Los Angeles part, but the country. PEREIRA: That's true.

LEMON: We saw Rodney King throughout the country and the world and then saw O.J. Simpson, same thing, throughout the country and the world. But I think people realize now after seeing O.J. and some of his antics what he might have been capable of, but it's no different. I don't think it's any different now than the way people see George Zimmerman.

BALDWIN: I was -- in Orlando. Yes.

LEMON: Many people who see George Zimmerman, he is innocent and representing something, but how can you not see -- let's just say how can you not see that George Zimmerman is guilty of killing someone? He killed him. The person is dead. He admits it. I think it's the same thing.

PEREIRA: And then also what's interesting, there's another poll that I found interesting, that overall attitudes on race relations, I think we can pull this up, have obviously also changed. If you look at this in 1994 an NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll found less than half the country thought race relations in the U.S. were in fairly good, or good shape, now the numbers are far more optimistic. We've evolved as a society?

LEMON: We should evolve. As time goes by we should evolve. I hate this example, giving an extreme. Look at the person in the White House as an African-American. I always say the most popular person in the country, the wealthiest person in television, as a personality is -- this.


LEMON: This African-American woman with some hips who everybody loves. She's not what we consider to be perfection. Right? So I think the country is changing, and what we want to know more about people, not necessarily if they're black or white, or their hair color but who they are. That's why people love Oprah. That's why people are beginning to know their neighbors more, because of who they are, not for what they look like.

PEREIRA: The fact is we see more people of color, you know, high- profile, as you've mentioned. The president, Oprah, other people doing --

LEMON: I don't think we'll change as a country and -- not when it's -- until it's people who are not extremes like we are. People who are successful. Where it's the average, everyday person you see walking down the street you accept and don't draw pre-conceived notions.

PEREIRA: Don's going to be doing some interesting things tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. He is talking all aspects of the trial, the Simpson trial, and looking where the key players are now. That's an interesting look. Right after a special CNN report, "O.J.'s Wild Ride: 20 Years After The Chase."

CUOMO: The Bronco.

PEREIRA: Remember that? Debuts at 9:00 p.m., viewing to do, people. Back 20 years, think about where we are now.

LEMON: And we are going to talk to Nicole Brown Simpson's sister.

PEREIRA: And work with domestic violence in women.

CUOMO: They carried the legacy forward.

LEMON: Good to see you guys. Have a great one.

CUOMO: Always a pleasure.

LEMON: Good to have you here.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, we have the latest details on the Las Vegas shooters. Could their past have given hints on what they were planning? We're going to tell you what organization they were kicked out of for being too radical.