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Democrats to Elect New Party Leader; Off-Duty Officer Fires Gun in Dispute; Mom of Transgender Teen Speaks Out; Trump Rescinds Protections for Transgender Students; Collins Open to Subpoena Trump's Tax Returns; Carl and Rob Reiner's Comedy Story. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired February 23, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] PETE BUTTIGIEG, CANDIDATE FOR DNC CHAIR: Not a product of the Washington establishment is the right kind of person to lead our party going forward.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Now, one of the big reasons that you got this much attention right now is because as the out party, who heads the party is more important than usual, like when you occupy the White House, because even though it's largely a management position, it's also about message, and the Democrats are going to have to figure out the reason to believe for the people out there you want as your voters. And one of the parts of that will be being on the spot and coming up with the message of how you want different controversies to be perceived in this country.

And we have one that is bubbling up right now in Anaheim, California. Let me play this video again because it involves a police officer, albeit off duty, and use of force. He's dealing with one teenager. We don't know why. We don't know if there's pre-existing beef or history. And another teenager comes out of nowhere and takes him down. Hits him, takes him down. He pulls out his weapon now, even though he's back up, and he fires it. Now, we don't know if it was an accident or what. Everybody was hurt. Everybody scatters.

Even though we have to wait for the facts, that's how the justice system works, politics always comes into play here. And the Democrats have had the predisposition, the suggestion is, to say police officers, wrongful use of force, out of the box. Do you think that's right and how should this situation be handled?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes, I mean, look, in this particular situation, obviously like most of these use of force scenarios you're just hearing about for the first time, we don't know all the facts and it happens in a split second. But let me say this, this is a great example of how we can show leadership as a party by showing support when there's a false choice laid at our feet. And I've got to tell you, I lived this as a mayor of a diverse city where we face a lot of issues, where we have to build trust between our police officers and communities, including communities of color, that they are sworn to serve and protect.

And this idea that -- that you've got to choose -- that you can't be pro-police and pro-minority, for example, well, that just can't be right because both of those things are true. It's true that police officers put their lives on the line in order to protect us and it's also true that everybody ought to be able to expect fair treatment, just treatment at the hands of law enforcement even, according to our Constitution, even if you're accused or suspected of doing something wrong. That is obviously one of the most difficult issues that our society and our country deals with.

But we can't politicize it so much that it's assumed that when we stand up for fairness, when we stand up for justice, when we say it is not OK for young people of color, for example, to be fearing the men and women who should be keeping them safe, that's not an anti-police position. It's a pro-justice position. And we've got to support our men and women in uniform and the people in the neighborhoods that they protect.

CUOMO: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, thank you very much for being on NEW DAY. Good luck on Saturday and thank you for your service. The mayor is also a veteran.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you.

CUOMO: Be well.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Chris, the Trump administration reversing President Obama's protections for transgender students. The Trump White House believes this issue should be up to the states. Well, up next, a mother whose transgender son committed suicide is here to share her thoughts.


[08:35:53] CAMEROTA: The Trump administration rescinding federal protections for transgender students, revoking Obama-era guidance on transgender bathroom use in public schools. For parents of transgender children, the news can be devastating.

Joining us now is Katharine Prescott. Her transgender son, Kyler, committed suicide last year and she became an advocate for the issue and assisted the Obama administration with that directive that was just rescinded.

Katharine, thank you for being with us.


CAMEROTA: We're so sorry about your loss. Your story is heartbreaking. What did you think last night when you heard about this move from the Trump White House?

PRESCOTT: I was absolutely devastated. Obviously I've already lost my child, but I feel for all of the transgender kids all over this country and I feel for their parents as well. It's already difficult and this is just going to make things more difficult.

CAMEROTA: We're looking at pictures of your beautiful child. What was life like for Kyler? What was life at school like?

PRESCOTT: Kyler was just a wonderful student, a wonderful kid, a musician. He had always loved going to school. He did come into difficulties at school as a transgender student. I was always there to advocate for him and help him through these difficulties.

CAMEROTA: I mean such as -- can you share with us what -- just so that parents understand what it was that he and you were confronting, what sorts of things were happening at school?

PRESCOTT: I tried actually not to point fingers at exactly who did what anywhere, but I can assure you it's difficult, and that all he wanted and all any transgender kid at school wants is to be able to just fit in, just be one of the kids at school, be treated just like everybody else, and that includes just being able to go in and use the bathroom just like anybody else. He had a boy's name, dressed as a boy, looked like a boy. As far as all of the peers knew, he was a boy. So to ask a boy to go into the girl's bathroom, for example, would be ridiculous --


PRESCOTT: And would be very harmful.


PRESCOTT: And That's the kind of things these transgender teens are being asked to do. And it doesn't make sense.

CAMEROTA: And as a result of your heartbreak and your loss of Kyler, you then wanted to protect any other parents from having to live through something like that. And you became an advocate and you began working with the Obama administration to try to come up with these protections. So how do you believe the federal government or the Obama -- any White House can protect transgendered kids?

PRESCOTT: I think the protections that the Obama administration put in place were very helpful. They sent the message to the schools and to all the transgender kids and the parents out there that they were supported, that their rights were supported, that school would be a safe, supportive environment where they could just go for an education. That's what this country is all about, being able to just go and be educated like everybody else without facing discrimination. So I just tried to advocate. I -- on -- along with Glisten, they did a wonderful job of advocating to the Obama administration about how to best support these kids. And all this is about is making sure that the kids know that they're safe from discrimination and that they will be supported.

CAMEROTA: The Trump administration claims that this is about states' rights. That this should be an issue that each state decides on its own. What's the flaw in that thinking to your mind?

PRESCOTT: The flaw in that thinking is that states -- it's not a states' right to discriminate. And this is a matter of discrimination. So we don't leave any kind of discrimination up to the states. So why would we suddenly, with this particular issue, say that's up to the states to decide? I don't understand. I really don't understand the logic. And I'm quite sure that if any of the politicians making these decisions themselves had a transgender child or even just sat down and spoke with a transgender teen and really understood what they're going through, they absolutely would never consider this a states right to discriminate.

[08:40:34] CAMEROTA: And, in fact, that's what lots of families are calling for this morning, that the president and/or the vice president and/or Betsy DeVos do just that and sit down with a transgender student so that they can truly walk a little bit more in their shoes.

Katharine Prescott, thank you very much for sharing your personal story and your photographs with us this morning.

PRESCOTT: Thank you for having me.


CUOMO: Boy, Alisyn, thank you for that.

So why did the White House get into this transgender bathroom debate? Especially now. It's part of "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:45:03] CUOMO: All right, the Trump White House once again courting controversy, thrusting the Republican Party into a contentious transgender bathroom debate. Why now? You know, there is a Supreme Court case coming up. Should they have waited?

Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN political analyst David Drucker.

What's the plus-minus on this one?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, the minus is that everybody wonders why President Trump seemed to say one thing on the campaign trail but is now acting in a policy manner different ones he's in the White House. But the plus is, a lot of Republicans and especially the Republicans who feel the strongest about him on a positive manner were very angry at the last administration doing what they felt was meddling, using executive power to force cultural changes in a way that they weren't prepared for, they weren't on board with. During the Republican primary, I talked to a lot of Republican voters in the south who told me, look, it's fine with me if other states want to make changes. We don't want to be forced to do it here if we're not allowed to vote on it and we don't have our say through the normal legislative process.

CAMEROTA: Hey, David Drucker, how about why day 32? I mean that's awfully high on the priority list for a move like this.

DRUCKER: Well, because it was a high priority for Republicans and especially Trump's base to begin to unwind a lot of the executive orders that the Obama administration pushed through. A lot of Republicans felt like he did things because he couldn't get it through the Republican Congress. And these are the things that rankled them and the president is delivering to his base.

CUOMO: All right, David Drucker, another one that came up. Congressman Susan Collins, GOP, Maine, she said something in a public radio interview that has a lot of eyebrows up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you subpoena the president's tax records to see if there are any Russian connections?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I don't know whether we will need to do that. If it's necessary to get to the answers, then I suspect that we would. My hope is that we'll have a lot of voluntary cooperation.


CUOMO: What do you make of that? Because obviously the prospect of voluntary cooperation when it comes to transparency has been in short supply with Donald Trump, just to be true about it.

DRUCKER: Yes, we're not going to --

CUOMO: But what do you make with what the senator called -- said she'd be comfortable with?

DRUCKER: Yes, we're not going to see any voluntary cooperation. And I also don't think that the Republican leadership in the Senate, whether it's Mitch McConnell, the leader, or Richard Burr, the Intelligence Chairman, is going to be on board with any subpoenaing of the president's tax records. But Senator Collins is an independent operator and, look, there are Republicans in the Senate in particular that want to get to the bottom of Russian meddling in the United States. And so I don't think this issue's going to go away. And I think they're going to keep poking around if and until they can get some answers to satisfy them.

CAMEROTA: But, David, what does that mean? If there are some lawmakers who are not open to the president's tax returns being subpoenaed and Susan Collins says we'll do that if that's what it takes, then where does that leave us?

DRUCKER: Well, it leaves us in a standoff. But I just don't believe that Richard Burr, the chairman of that committee, or Senator Mitch McConnell, is going to blow open every priority they have, tax reform, health care reform, defense spending, and so on down the line, over an argument with the president on the Russia issue in this way. I mean subpoenaing his tax returns, something he wouldn't release during the campaign. He has steadfastly refused to talk about. They're not going to go there if he doesn't want to.

CAMEROTA: All right, David Drucker, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line." Great to talk to you.

DRUCKER: Thanks, guys.

CAMEROTA: All right, so, on a lighter note, in the history of comedy, they are royalty. Carl Reiner and his son Rob, they talked to CNN. We tell you the funny things they had to say, next.


[08:52:32] CAMEROTA: So, comedy greats will tell you that their best material comes from their everyday home life. And the father-son comedy powerhouse, Carl and Rob Reiner, lived that philosophy. And our Brooke Baldwin sat down with the Reiners for tonight's episode of "The History of Comedy." And Brooke is here with a preview for us.

That's fun.

BROOKE BALDWIN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEWSROOM": Last week it was Betty White. This week it's Carl and Rob Reiner.

CAMEROTA: I know. How can I get this gig?

BALDWIN: My new friends. I don't know how I got it, but imagine, I mean, between these two men you have like "Spinal Tap," "Princess Bride," "All in The Family," "Dick van Dyke Show," "When Harry Met Sally," "A Few Good Men." When feel me, right?

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: And so when you're growing up in this household in Beverly Hills and you are Rob Reiner, the son, you know, and dad, Carl, didn't say, son, I want you to follow in my footsteps, he was just extraordinarily funny. This is a home where Mel Brooks comes over every night for dinner, still.


BALDWIN: And so through osmosis, they're hysterical, and also they do not hold back when it comes to President Trump.

CAMEROTA: Oh, let's watch.


BALDWIN: Did you grow up laughing in this house?

ROB REINER, ACTOR/FILMMAKER: Well, yes, I mean the funniest people in the world --

BALDWIN: Were in this house?

R. REINER: Came into this house. And people have asked me a million times, you know, what it was like growing up in a household where there's Mel Brooks and there's -- there's (INAUDIBLE) Norman Lear. I mean just the funniest people in the world. And I said, well, you don't know, as a kid you're growing up, you don't know -- that's your reality.

CARL REINER, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: He -- I was trying to think of when he was a -- very, very young, four, five and six years old, when Mel and I would be kidding around in the living room, he would sit on the steps and listen and laugh. We didn't understand how we -- this kid knew what he was thinking about. As a matter of fact, when he was 12 years old, or 13, or 15, he threw in a joke that we still use.

BALDWIN: I was -- I was staying up very late last night remind -- like re-watching scenes from "When Harry Met Sally," which I've seen 118 times at least.

R. REINER: Really?

BALDWIN: Oh, yes. And the scene where she's faking the orgasm in the diner --

R. REINER: Yes. Yes.

BALDWIN: And then, "I'll have what she's having," your wife.



BALDWIN: Do you think that would be seen as tame now?

R. REINER: You know, yes, probably, I mean if you look at cable television and all the shows that are on.

C. REINER: Of course.

R. REINER: You know, people are doing more than faking orgasms, they're having actual whatever they do. I don't know what it is because that never happened --

BALDWIN: Taking this off, doing this and that.

R. REINER: I've never had --

C. REINER: And they use the "f" word freely. Bill Maher, who can't --


C. REINER: speak two sentences without using it, makes it OK. Makes it OK.

R. REINER: Well, I mean, now, I mean if you're a political satirist, it's like --

BALDWIN: You're in big business.

R. REINER: You know, the -- it was, you know, your act is written for you. I mean there's a lunatic in the White House.

[08:55:07] BALDWIN: Do you think anything should be off limits for when they're poking fun at the president?



R. REINER: No. No. Why? Because nothing's off limits for him. I mean the guy, he makes fun of handicapped people. He talks about what he's going to do to women. I mean nothing's off limits for him, so why should anything be off limits for the comedian?

C. REINER: And --

R. REINER: Nothing should be off limits for comedians anyway.

C. REINER: And nobody has ever attacked a president the way this guy is being attacked because no president deserves it. I mean they -- they've said we don't like Obama's Obamacare, but they couldn't attack him for being a person. He's not a person. He's a pig.

BALDWIN: Are you guys staying up late on Saturday night? Melissa McCarthy.

C. REINER: Melissa McCarthy.

R. REINER: As Sean Spicer. Just knocked it out of the park. And what I love, aside from the fact that she was brilliantly funny and the makeup was incredible, she looked just like Sean Spicer, I love the fact that Trump was upset that Sean was being played by a woman. So now I'm (INAUDIBLE) trying to get Rosie O'Donnell to play Steve Bannon. I'd love to see --


R. REINER: A woman play Trump, you know, Meryl Streep or whatever. I mean it's -- it's, you know, it's (INAUDIBLE).

C. REINER: In the -- in the -- in the history of our country, we've never had the citizenry go after the president like -- in this vein because he deserves it. No other president. I mean we -- we were -- there anti-Bushs, there were anti-Nixons, but not in this -- not this way.

R. REINER: Yes, I've never seen anything like it.


CAMEROTA: OK, so they were unabashed in their (INAUDIBLE).

BALDWIN: Yes, they did not hold back. We got through comedy and they were like, let's talk about the president. And so just hearing them talk -- I thought the Meryl Streep idea was kind of hysterical. And I said, well, you've got some pull with your friend Meryl, so maybe you could make the phone call.

And then before I left the house -- just quickly I want to share a photo. Carl Reiner took me in his home. He -- the man has 12 Emmys. I said, was is it like receiving one. He goes, let me show you. So there --


BALDWIN: And he was wonderful. Ninety-five next month.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.


CAMEROTA: That's incredible. Well, thanks so much for sharing that with us.

BALDWIN: Yes. Thank you, Reiners.

CAMEROTA: They're amazing. Everybody can tune in tonight for "The History of Comedy," 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

And CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow is going to pick up after this very short break.


[09:00:05] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow. John Berman has the day off. So glad you're with us.