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Report: Clinton Says Trump Admin Could Threaten LGBT Rights; Odin Lloyd's Mother Reacts to Hernandez Death; Boston Police Make Boy's Wish Come True. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 21, 2017 - 15:30   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton is issuing a warning to the LGBT community saying that the Trump administration could threaten their rights.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think we have to face the fact that we may not ever be able to count on this administration to lead on LGBT issues. I know the election hit a lot of us hard, but I can tell you this, even when it feels tempting to pull the covers over your heads, please keep going.


CABRERA: The former Democratic Presidential candidate spoke at a fund-raiser for an LGBT community organization and emphasized the importance of the 2018 midterm elections. But is she signaling that her work in politics isn't done? Joining me now to talk more about this is CNN contributor J.D. Vance, he is the author of "Hillbilly Elegy," and also with me Adam Parkhomenko, he was the national grassroots organizer for the Hillary Clinton campaign and former national field director for the DNC. Adam, you know Clinton. You've worked with her. Some losing candidates go away. They disappear. That's not been the case for Hillary Clinton.

[15:35:00] ADAM PARKHOMENKO, NATIONAL GRASSROOTS ORGANIZER, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: No. I think she's got a career of taking her own advice and doing exactly what she's told everyone throughout her career to do when you get knocked down, get right back up. I think she's taken a little bit of a break, which was much deserved but in the meantime, she's been doing what she's committed to do and made promises to do, including transferring all of her campaign data over to the DNC, which has added about 10 million new names that they didn't have.

CABRERA: J.D., what do you see as the impact of Clinton speaking out against Trump like this now?

J.D. VANCE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, she obviously has a lot of visibility. She's maybe the most visible woman in the United States of America right now. Certainly, one of the most visible people in the country. So, whenever she criticizes Trump, she's going to make news. I think Hillary Clinton is a controversial figure not just in the country but even in the Democratic party and I know that a lot of my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle, they are cheering with Hillary Clinton when she comes out and criticizes the President and a lot of people are asking for fresh blood and new faces to sort of inject themselves into the conversation and lead the party in a new direction. So, I don't think it's totally clear that she will be a really central figure even in the Democratic party moving forward. It just really depends on how a lot of these activists respond to her.

CABRERA: Adam, do you think she wants to be a central party? She's been political at these events. Do you think she's not finished?

PARKHOMENKO: Well, I think if you look at the election results from this past election, the Democratic party is not dead, first of all. We picked up seats in the house and in the Senate. We've won a lot of seats in states like Kansas where there were more seats picked up in a single year than in 30 years and there's a lot of rebuilding to do, especially on the DNC side. Hillary is somebody, who if you look at a state like Virginia that I live in, in Virginia, not only that, she won by a larger margin in Virginia than Barack Obama and Virginia is one of the two states that has won state elections in this year. We've seen seven Republican incumbents announcing that they were not going to run again. When you're looking at this, she's got a fire and a burn in her to do what she's done her entire life, which is building the party and I think we'll see her out there doing exactly that. But it started with doing what she promised on the campaign trail in making sure that everything that she built was transferred to the DNC.

CABRERA: But you wonder if it could backfire. I say it that way because, as you point out, Adam, Democrats are trying to rebuild and in some ways, rebrand. J.D., you're very much in touch with the working class that helped Trump win the election and in areas where Democrats in the past have had success but then failed this time with Hillary Clinton running for President. Does her presence help or hurt the Democratic party and the future?

VANCE: Well, I think that it's hard to argue that it really helps, especially in the areas where Democrats are weakest, because one of the big trends of the Democratic party over the past 10 or 15 years is that while it collects a lot of votes, this attempt to bury the Democratic party doesn't make a lot of sense. People are still Democrats, like Adam said. It's really a geographically constrained party. It's not especially competitive in fly-over countries and in working-class areas that used to be the strength of the Democratic party and now they are fundamental weaknesses. The question I have for Hillary Clinton is not whether she's an effective or visible critic. The question is does she help expand the Democratic party and my sense of that answer is no.

CABRERA: What's your answer to that, Adam?

PARKHOMENKO: My answer is that, you know, she won more votes in the Democratic primary than any of her opponents. She won more votes than Donald Trump in the general election. She's the first woman ever to be nominated for President of a major party and if you look at the general election, there's a lot of things that came out of that that the Democratic party needs to focus on in terms of rebuilding and I love President Obama but as we talk about regularly, the DNC, you know, lost a lot of its infrastructure over the last eight years and we really are in a position where we were in 2005. Howard dean understood the two-party system and understood that we need to compete in every single corner of the country and also invest in local parties and state parties. Really, we've been here before and we're going to do it again but this time the DNC needs to rebuild it and do it in the long run and Hillary Clinton isn't going anywhere. As a former -- I've worked for her on and off for almost 14 years so I naturally get folks reaching out to me making requests. Look at the results in Kansas and Georgia.

[15:40:00] CABRERA: Democrats got closer but ultimately there weren't victories. There weren't outright victories.

PARKHOMENKO: Yeah. And one of the things that we need to do as a party is we need to make sure that every single entity on the national level, whether it's the DSCC and DNC are coordinating as one and provide the resources we need to. A lot of this is getting away from wasting money on TV and research over and over. Michelle Obama went out there and talked about five or six votes that we needed in every single precinct to win statewide. We need to start to invest in every single corner. There's candidates out there that were inspired by Hillary Clinton to run for office. They never thought they'd be running. In Virginia this year, Susan Platte, Joe Biden's chief of staff is running for lieutenant governor. She would be the first woman lieutenant governor ever elected in Virginia.

CABRERA: Thank you to both of you.

Up next, new details about the handwritten suicide notes that Aaron Hernandez left behind in his prison cell.

Plus, the mother of the man he was convicted of killing reacts to Hernandez's death. Stay with us.


CABRERA: You're in the CNN newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera. Aaron Hernandez's death has been ruled as a suicide by the examiner. His family has filed papers asking the court to preserve all evidence, Odin Lloyd's mother is speaking out. She said she wants to be a voice for mothers who have lost loved ones.


URSULA WARD, MOTHER OF ODIN LLOYD: It's not even about Odin Lloyd. It's about the person that committed the crime for Odin Lloyd. If it wasn't for that, you guys wouldn't be here to ask me questions about Odin Lloyd. So today I'm speaking up for Odin Lloyd and for the families out there that is fighting for justice and doesn't have the voice that I can provide for them. You will never know. You will never understand also you're in that boat of this tremendous loss. I lost my best friend. I lost my son. I lost the love of my life. I lost the strong boy in my family.


CABRERA: With me now, Deborah Feyerick, CNN national correspondent. Deb, have investigators said what are in the notes and any connection to that bible verse that was written on Hernandez's forehead?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They haven't said specifically what was said but it was next to the bible. It's a picture of Aaron Hernandez's final moments and one thing he tried to do was make sure once prison guards got into that cell, there would be no way to revive him. We are now being told by officials he had jammed cardboard into the tracks of his single inmate cell making access difficulty and jammed various positions that he had with him and also, we are learning that the biblical verse you referred to, john 3:16, it was not only written on his head in a red substance but also on the walls of his cell. So really there was thought that had gone into the final moments of Aaron Hernandez. We are also now told by prison officials that he was locked into his cell at 8:00 in the evening. He was not checked on by any sort of a prison official until 3:00. That is seven hours in which Aaron Hernandez had time to tie a bed sheet around his neck, block access and then die in his cell. And the family's really upset over the fact that there was no guard that had checked on him specifically after this dramatic finding where he was acquitted by court.

CABRERA: So, you talked about how his family is upset with how this death was handled. What are they trying to accomplish exactly?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are very upset and angry. They say that prison officials not once allegedly did they reach out to the family to give them details of this particular suicide, that everything that they have learned has actually been through twitter and the news, including what the Hernandez family lawyer says essentially was news reports that Hernandez had put some sort of soap onto the floor, again, making it very difficult for any sort of rescue. He wanted to make sure that whatever happened, there was no way he was going to be revived. The Hernandez family lawyers wanted access to the cell but a judge today said he wasn't going to rule on that. What he did do was order the department of corrections to preserve a lot of the evidence, including video recordings of Hernandez and the cell eight hours leading up to the death, the sheets and the bindings that Hernandez used in order to kill himself.

Again, his death ruled asphyxia by hanging and they also made sure that photographs of the cell will be available to the family. The family wants to get a lot of insight into what was happening in the moments leading up to it. But they are very angry. They feel that they have been cut out and so they are filing this lawsuit to see exactly how this was allowed to happen and why no one from the prison either saw this within seven hours or notified the family once they did.

CABRERA: Deborah Feyerick, thank you. A reminder tonight at 11:00 eastern, don't miss "Downward Spiral", that follows "The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez." Up next, President Trump announcing moments ago that he's hoping to

have a tax reform program on the table next week. And that's ahead of a looming budget bill that could lead to a government shutdown. But can any of it get done before the 100-day mark? That's the big question. Stay with us.


CABRERA: We want to take a moment to honor some Boston police officers going beyond the call of duty. CNN's Jason Carroll says they granted a wish for a young boy with a rare form of brain cancer.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This past January the Suau family was out on vacation. One of the family's boys, Devin, a precocious 6- year-old, fell off his snowboard and hit his head. At worst the family thought he might have a concussion and then came a devastating diagnosis.

CHRISTINE SUAU, DEVIN'S MOTHER: Life with four boys was crazy before this anyway and now it's -- it's unimaginable.

CARROLL: Devin was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer and there is no cure.

CHRISTINE SUAU: I think every moment has been challenging because we're constantly reminded of how quickly our life changed.

CARROLL: Devin dreamed of perhaps one day becoming a police officer like his uncle, but new that doctors have given him eight months to two years to live his outlook is measured week by week, day by day.

CHRISTINE SUAU: The most challenging was just trying to wrap your head around the seriousness of the disease.

CARROLL: Enter Devin's local police department who have stood by his family.

OFFICE JUSTIN CREMMINS, BOSTON POLICE: When we hear of any fight of any kid facing the challenge of a debilitating disease step, we step forward. So, you have to take care of the future. And you have to show parents going through

this they are not alone.

CARROLL: The Boston PD made Devin an honorary commissioner, and Framingham police made him chief and he came to offer law enforcement advice. He is relishing his roles and keen to offer law enforcement advice.

DEVIN SUAU, VICTIM OF RARE CANCER: Be careful to not get eaten by a bear.

[15:55:00] CARROLL: The Boston PD has stepped in before to help make a day out a little easier for a child suffering from brain cancer. The department made this 4-year-old an honorary police officer. CHRISTINE SUAU: What's also moving for me is to see the support

coming from this department.

CREMMINS: It's something we've done for years and years as a village as a whole. We have to take care of everyone in the village.

CARROLL: As for Devin despite the odds his family is hoping he'll be the first to beat the disease and they have planned what they will do when they called the nasty rock in his brain is gone.

DEVIN SUAU: I'm going to eat ice cream every single day, ice cream!

CARROLL: Devin did serve and eat ice cream when we saw him and days later flew to Rome where he was blessed by the pope. Jason Carroll, CNN, Boston.



CABRERA: We're on the hunt for CNN Heroes and we need you to help us find them. Meet the people who have nominated Heroes in the past.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I met my hero when we were volunteering. He's making a big difference.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For kids in our area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is my second mom, my mentor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt like it was very important for people to know about Sister Teresa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so honored to honor her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my goodness, so proud that I did something for her.


CABRERA: Nominate you know someone you at --