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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Clinton Campaigns in New Jersey; Justice Department Battle with North Carolina Law Examined; Injured Vets Denied Needed Fertility Treatments; Warrant: Doctor Prescribed Medications For Musician. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired May 11, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The choice in this campaign literally could not be clearer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Of course, that campaign is the general election campaign she's talking about.
But, Jake, she still has that primary fight. That's why Hillary Clinton is campaigning here in New Jersey. There's about a month left to go in this Democratic contest -- Jake.
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny in the Garden State, thank you so much.
He's taking on the federal government in a fight to defend what could be the most controversial law in the United States. North Carolina's governor will join me next live to defend his state's new bathroom bill.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
In our national lead today: the legal battle over which bathrooms transgender individuals can use in North Carolina. It's becoming more heated by the day.
The state and the Justice Department have sued one another over the law after the Obama administration warned that the so-called bathroom bill violates the Civil Rights Act.
We're going to speak to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who signed the controversial law, in a few seconds.
But, first, how did we get here? (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
TAPPER (voice-over): You have likely seen thousands of these signs over the years and probably never given much thought to them. But, today, the gender assignment on restroom doors is at the center of a legal brawl between the U.S. Justice Department and the state of North Carolina.
In its so-called bathroom bill, HB-2, North Carolina's legislature demands that citizens use the restroom corresponding with the gender on their birth certificate, not the gender with which they identify.
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today, we are filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state of North Carolina.
TAPPER: This week, the Justice Department said the order is an attack on the LGBT community.
LYNCH: They created state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals, who simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security.
TAPPER: The federal and state governments filed dueling lawsuits Monday, the feds going after the state, accusing officials of failing to comply with anti-U.S. discrimination laws, state officials counterpunching with their own suit.
GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Our state legislature believed this was an unnecessary government overreach into the private sector, imposing regulations and impacting one's personal privacy.
TAPPER: The stakes are high, as the government threatens to pull funding from North Carolina and its influential namesake university.
TAPPER: Let's talk more about this with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who joins us live.
Governor McCrory, thanks so much for joining us.
MCCRORY: Thank you, Jake.
I just want to let you know this actually really started in Houston, Texas, with a referendum, a local ordinance in Houston, which was a mandate on all private sector bathrooms brought up by the left, the Democrats. That was defeated by 61 percent of the vote about six months ago.
Then it came to Charlotte, North Carolina, an ordinance which was passed, a bathroom bill by Democrats on all private sector employees in Charlotte. And then all we did was overturn that, very similar to the Houston voters.
Our bathroom bill in North Carolina only applies to our schools, our universities, our government buildings and highway rest stops. It is now the Obama administration that is demanding that they have
bathroom policies not just in North Carolina, but now gender-specific or gender identity bathrooms for every private sector company in the United States of America with over 15 employees, and that was determined Wednesday by the chief legal person.
So, sir, take a listen to the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who had this to say earlier in the week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNCH: State-sanctioned discrimination never looks good and never works in hindsight. It was not so very long ago that states, including North Carolina, had other signs above restrooms, water fountains, and on public accommodations, keeping people out based on a distinction without a difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Your response, sir?
MCCRORY: It's an insult. And it's a political statement, instead of a legal statement.
It's an insult toward our state and 10 million people that has no relevance to this issue regarding whether a gender identity individual or a boy can go into a girls restroom. To correlate that to the civil rights marches in the '50s and '60s is totally irresponsible of our chief legal officer of the United States of America.
And she forgot to remind, just three years ago, the president was against gay marriage. So I don't remember her lecturing her boss on that issue.
MCCRORY: So, this is a very sensitive issue between privacy and equality.
MCCRORY: And all we're asking for is the courts to give clarification on what's right and we will follow the law.
TAPPER: Before you signed this law, had there been any incidents in North Carolina in which transgender people's usage of a bathroom was a problem in any way?
MCCRORY: No. We didn't think there was a problem at all until the Democrats brought this up in Charlotte, North Carolina. We didn't need a bathroom law.
We never have asked for a bathroom law. The Republicans have never discussed this. I have never discussed it in a campaign. It's the Democrats in the far left that have brought up this issue of needing bathroom laws.
TAPPER: They brought up the law, but then you signed a law to overrule their law.
But here's another question, sir.
MCCRORY: That's correct. That's -- I want to make that point.
MCCRORY: They made a mandate of bathroom laws on all private sector entities.
TAPPER: That was Charlotte. Right.
MCCRORY: And now the Justice Department has done the same thing for everyone.
TAPPER: How do you plan on enforcing this on the ground at a public restroom?
MCCRORY: Any way we have been doing it before, trespassing matters. I don't know how -- the Charlotte ordinance actually had a fine regarding for the private sector, and I didn't know how the liberals were going to enforce that either. And that needed to be asked.
I think this was an argument that we didn't need to have in this country or in our state. But this is an agenda by the far left, and for some reason, the national media is saying the far right brought this up.
I had no interest in this subject, but now that the Justice Department is basically making a civil rights claim that every private sector employer in the United States and every university in the United States must have gender expression or gender identity bathroom choices for individuals, and this is in the most -- and this is not just in bathrooms.
MCCRORY: This is in shower facilities and in locker rooms or changing rooms.
TAPPER: Well, let me -- let's talk about schools and not universities. Let's talk about grade schools and high schools.
MCCRORY: Yes. Yes.
TAPPER: As you may know, transgendered children have a very difficult time fitting in, being accepted. They have very high suicide rates.
What are you telling the teachers at schools in North Carolina where, say, a 12-year-old, who identifies as a girl, though her birth certificate said boy, what do you tell teachers about her if she's using the girls bathroom? You're saying stop letting her use that bathroom?
MCCRORY: No, I think we ought to make special circumstances for those individuals in a unisex restroom or shower, which I have encouraged by executive order in our universities.
But now the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department has deemed those types of arrangements to be discriminatory, that we cannot look for alternatives for these very sensitive needs for these -- whether it be a junior high child or a college student. And I want to -- I'm sensitive to those things.
TAPPER: You just said you're sensitive to those needs of like a 12- year-old transgender child, but you're not letting that girl use the girls bathroom. You're saying they should use a special unisex bathroom.
MCCRORY: That's correct.
TAPPER: Are you not making that child's life much more difficult?
MCCRORY: I'm also worried about the other kids, that there's an expectation of privacy for the other girls or other boys in their junior high locker rooms or shower facilities, that the only other people coming into there are the people of that same gender, built as the same gender.
And can you imagine the potential problem there? So, we need to work through these problems and not throw hand grenades at this issue, because it's a new, sensitive issue on all sides, for families, for young girls and boys and for the transgender population.
But to have the civil -- the Justice Department come out with a massive interpretation of the Civil Rights Act for every employer in the United States now is something that I think needs clarification by the federal courts. And, frankly, I think there's a time where the Republicans and Democrats in the Congress need to revisit the 1964 Civil Rights Act and revisit all this issue, because these are complex issues.
And North Carolina, for whatever reason, politically, has become the target by the left on this agenda, and now they're going to be moving to other states. And it requires sensitive discussion and sensitive debate, which the nation has not had, but now we're in this situation.
TAPPER: Thank you so much, Governor. I really appreciate your time.
MCCRORY: Thank you, Jake. I appreciate it very much.
TAPPER: He showed up at Prince's estate the day the star died, so who is this doctor named in a search warrant tied to the singer's death?
Then, the Pentagon covers in vitro fertilization treatment for active members of the military, so why doesn't the VA cover that for veterans? A look at the costly fight to have a family -- coming up next.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Our Buried Lead today, a battle that many troops returning from war zones such as Iraq are currently waging here at home. What do we owe our brave men and women who have put their lives on the line to serve their country?
It's a moral question at the heart of a desperate fight facing injured vets who are unable to conceive children naturally because of those wounds sustained in combat. These veterans are seeking help from the government.
They want to become parents, but the response from Congress right now is, sorry, you're on your own. This week those wounded warriors took that fight to Capitol Hill.
TAPPER (voice-over): Lobbying on Capitol Hill is not easy for most common citizens, but it's especially difficult for Matthew and Tracy Kyle. Matthew is a paraplegic and he's here fighting for the rights of other wounded veterans.
In 2007, then Staff Sergeant Kyle was serving in his second deployment in Iraq. He used a brief two-week break at home to get married.
Six weeks later, the then 25-year-old was shot by a sniper in the neck and instantly paralyzed. According to the Wounded Warrior Project, Kyle is now one of up to 2,000 recent veterans whose war injuries prevent them from conceiving children naturally.
(on camera): Why was it important for you to have children?
STAFF SGT. MATTHEW KEIL (RETIRED), WOUNDED VETERAN: The title of dad or mom is probably the best title that any person that walks this earth could have.
TRACY KEIL, MATTHEW'S WIFE: I didn't want to miss out on having kids with him because I know before he was even injured, I knew he'd be an amazing father.
TAPPER (voice-over): He and Tracy decided in vitro fertilization would be their best option, but they found out the VA does not cover the pricey and arduous procedure. Success rates are only around 40 percent. The cost per cycle averages roughly $12,000.
Now, the procedure is covered by the Pentagon for active duty service members but not for veterans. So that leaves a small window of decision-making time between injury and retirement. One that most are not ready to seize.
MATTHEW KELL: We were still trying to wrap our heads around the extent of my injury and what my life was going to be like afterwards. We weren't immediately thinking about let's have kids right now.
TAPPER: Democratic Senator Patty Murray has introduced a multimillion amendment to change this discrepancy, one that could go before the Senate as early as this week. With help from the Wounded Warrior Project and others, the Keils were able to meet with senators this week on Capitol Hills.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a cost of war. We treat every other injury. It is part of the promise that we make to men and women who served our country.
[16:50:06]TAPPER: Previous attempts to remedy this were effectively blocked by Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, an ardent foe of abortion. His office maintains that the senator's opposition to abortion has nothing to do with this.
He feels it's critical to fulfill, quote, "our existing promises to veterans before making new promises we may not be able to keep." Advocates say some anti-abortion legislators oppose IVF because the procedure can result in fertilized eggs not being used.
TRACY KEIL: Just to be blunt, it's none of their business what I do with my eggs.
MATTHEW KEIL: For someone to make the decision for me that I can't go about having a family in whatever way that I need to do it to have a family, it's not fair.
TAPPER: Years ago, the Keils used their credit cards and went into debt to pay for the procedure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dad always dresses cool and wanted to look nice for when you were born.
MATTHEW KEIL: Most people buy a car and they make a monthly payment for their car payment. Well, we made a monthly payment for our kids.
TAPPER: They now have 5 1/2-year-old twins, Matthew Jr., and Faith.
(on camera): Is he a good dad?
TRACY KEIL: He's the best dad. You know, you have to get pretty inventive with a disability and only being able to use one arm, but he does do it. He taught the kids how to ride their bikes. He made this thing that hooked on to his chair and then hooked on to the back of their bike.
Spent hours doing it. I have seen so many moments with our kids. That carry me through the day, that I see carry him through the day. Everybody should have that moment in their life.
TAPPER (voice-over): They're here in Washington this week to fight for other veterans to have the same chance, to have a family like they do. This time with support from the nation they served.
TAPPER: In a statement to CNN, the Department of Veterans Affairs said, quote, "Including IVF in the medical benefits package would be consistent with the Department of Veterans Affairs goal to restore the capabilities of veterans and to improve the quality of veterans' lives," unquote. Translation, Congress, get your act together.
He was found dead with opioids medication on him. What questions does Prince's death raise about the growing epidemic of addiction to pain medication in America?
TAPPER: Welcome back. In today's Pop Culture Lead, a search warrant related to the death of Prince reveals the name of a doctor who saw the singer the day before he died.
The documents also show that on the day Prince died, Dr. Michael Schulenburg, visited Paisley Park to deliver some sort of test results, not knowing that his patient was gone.
The "Los Angeles Times" and the "Minneapolis Star-Tribune" were the first to publish the warrant. Dr. Schulenberg is seen in an unrelated YouTube video. He worked at a facility about 20 miles from Prince's Paisley Park estate.
Notes in the warrant say that Schulenberg wrote a prescription for Prince, but it does not specify the medication. This news comes right after drug enforcement agents were seen searching Paisley Park yesterday.
That brings us to today's Health Lead. Prescription drug addiction, it's the focus of a special town hall tonight here on CNN.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta will help guide that discussion. He joins me now. Dr. Gupta, Sanjay, according to the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, Dr. Schulenberg is certified in family medicine.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
TAPPER: Would it be unusual for a doctor with that kind of certification to prescribe opioids?
GUPTA: It would not be unusual. Family doctors sometimes give these types of medications. Typically, though, just for a few days until the person who has a particular pain complaint is seeing a specialist in that area or seeing a pain doctor. But that alone I don't think it would be that unusual.
TAPPER: Just today Republican House leadership said that the House plans to vote on 18 bills this week aimed at addressing addiction in this country. Republican House leaders say they want to change the culture of addiction to prescription drugs. What responsibility does the medical community have here, you think?
GUPTA: The medical community has a huge responsibility here, Jake. Look, I think a lot of the bills and a lot of the direction that you hear in Congress does come from the medical community.
And frankly, the whole paradigm that people have believed for a long time that these medications could be given indiscriminately, that the addiction risk was low, overdose risk was low was based on flimsy scientific data dating back 30 years.
That came from the medical community and it was that code in the chambers of the medical community for a long time. So I think the medical community and American doctors in particular have a huge responsibility here.
TAPPER: Sanjay, is there a way for society to prevent people from seeking multiple prescriptions from more than one doctor or pharmacy if they are determined to do so?
GUPTA: In some states there are these tracking systems that allow a registry to figure out if you received pain medications, where you received it and when you received it and sort of track it.
First of all, a lot of doctors even if they know about these systems don't always use them. Some states are more robust than others. There's no federal sort of system to prevent people from doctor shopping as you're describing it.
TAPPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. We'll pick up this conversation in tonight's town hall on "Prescription Addiction Made In The USA." It's part of a special "AC 360" with Anderson Cooper at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.
That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. You can follow me on Twitter @jaketapper or on Facebook or on Twitter @theleadcnn. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer who is right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.
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