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Massive Bomb Kills 80, Injures Hundreds in Kabul; Interview with German Ambassador to the United States Peter Wittig; Interview with Congressman Tim Murphy. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 31, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:06]CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A significant step in America's effort to counter the nuclear threat from North Korea. The Pentagon successfully shooting down a mock intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean during a critical test of an upgraded ground- based interceptor system. Defense officials expressing confidence that the U.S. now has a capable, credible deterrent against nuclear aggression. Now, this test comes after North Korea promised to send a, quote, bigger gift to the U.S. after testing their own missile.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The man accused of going on a deadly stabbing spree on a Portland train erupts in the courtroom as one of his alleged victims sits in the front row.


JEREMY CHRISTIAN, STABBING SUSPECT: You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism. You hear me? Die.


CAMEROTA: That was Jeremy Joseph Christian. He is accused of killing two men and stabbing a third, heroes who defended two young women on a train. Last Friday, Christian apparently targeted the girls because one was wearing a hijab. He yelled racial slurs at them.

Christian was arraigned on several charges, including aggravated murder. He could be charged with hate crimes.

CUOMO: Comedian Kathy Griffin is apologizing after sparking outrage with a photo of her holding a terrible effigy of the president's head. It was bloodied and severed.


KATHY GRIFFIN, COMEDIAN: I sincerely apologize. I am just now seeing the reaction of these images.

I'm a comic. I cross the line. I move the line. Then I cross it. It went way too far.

The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn't funny. I get it.

I made a lot of mistakes in my career. I will continue. I ask your forgiveness. Taking down the image.


CUOMO: We're not obviously showing the image because there's no value to it.

Griffin hosts CNN's New Year's coverage and the network released a statement saying: We found what she did disgusting and offensive. We're pleased to see she has apologized and ask that the photos be taken down. We are evaluating our New Year's Eve coverage and have made no decisions at this point.

CAMEROTA: Right. So that's the question. Now what happens with Kathy Griffin?

She could not give a more authentic apology. She sounds like she gets it. She crossed the line. She often crosses the line. This one went further than ever, and she understands it.

So, now, is her career ruined? I mean, what happens next, you know? Sometimes that happens. Sometimes there's a moment, a turning point. But who knows?

I mean, we'll ask our guest. Al Franken will be here. We can ask him.

CUOMO: Yes, a lot of different ways to go. It's easy to condemn this, and it is right to condemn it.

There are going to be a lot of layers of analysis. There's an obvious thing. It was wrong, OK? Fine.

She's a comedian. Does that give her a different standard? I would argue no. And I think we've seen a cruelty in comedy recently that is being passed off as parody in comedy.

[06:35:00] CAMEROTA: Yes.

CUOMO: And this is something that was not done by accident. It wasn't done in the moment.


CUOMO: It was thought out.

CAMEROTA: It's just that the apology allowed her to go on now. Is that enough, you know? So, we would love to hear your thoughts as well.

We have breaking news that we have to get to because there's been this deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan. It was just a few hundred yards from the German agency, while all while tensions build, of course, between President Trump and Chancellor Merkel. So, we'll talk about all of these developments with Germany's U.S. ambassador.


CAMEROTA: We are following breaking news for you. There's been a massive car bomb that has exploded near multiple foreign embassies in Kabul, Afghanistan. At least 20 people are dead, 300 injured. The blast hit just 400 yards from the German embassy injuring several diplomats.

Joining us now is the German ambassador to the United States, Peter Wittig.

Ambassador, good morning. Thank you for being here. We're sorry for this terrible breaking news.

Do you think that it was the German embassy that was targeted?

PETER WITTIG, GERMAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: We don't know. This is another horrific atrocious act and attack on civilians where, it happened at the German embassy.

Apparently, one guard of the German embassy was killed. Several members of the embassy were injured.

[06:40:00] They're all safe now. We are starting now investigations together with the Afghan security services about the circumstances. This is all I can tell you at this point in time. Again, an atrocious, horrific attack.

CAMEROTA: Do things like this make Germany rethink its engagement in Afghanistan?

WITTIG: No, we are committed since the start of that conflict to a military presence there. We have been the leading military force in the north of Afghanistan, and we have prolonged extending our stay.

This will not affect our presence there. We still think we need to be in Afghanistan in order to prevent a fall-back into chaos. We need to stabilize that country together with our allies in NATO.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about Germany's alliance with the U.S. is it fair to characterize it as a feud at the moment?

WITTIG: Oh, no, no. You know, Chancellor Merkel and the U.S. president, they have a good and productive relationship. They met in Washington very extensively. They met now in Europe.

They are on the phone frequently on all the international agenda. So, that's a good relationship, and there are few leaders as committed to the trans-Atlantic relations as Chancellor Merkel is to the friendship of the United States, and that has not changed with President Trump.

CAMEROTA: OK. Because it sounds like it's changed. It doesn't sound like they're having a good relationship right now.

Let me read to you Trump's recent tweet after returning from NATO. He says: We have a massive trade deficit with Germany. Plus, they pay far less, in capitals, than they should on NATO and military. Very bad for the U.S. This will change.

WITTIG: Chancellor Merkel, she called a couple of days ago on the Europeans to take their fate into their own hands. She did this before in the face of crisis that Europe is facing, the Brexit and the Russia assertiveness.

But being such a Transatlanticist, she also thinks it's important to discuss honestly where we have differences of opinion, and one difference of opinion that emerged in the past days was, for example, the issue of climate change. This is something that good friends and allies should discuss.

The other issue that you mentioned is the burden sharing in NATO. We fully subscribe to a fair burden sharing in NATO. We committed --

CAMEROTA: Then why doesn't -- I'm sorry to interrupt you, but then why hasn't President Trump fasten odd that and saying that Germany is not carrying its fair share because this does seem like a point of contention. Yes, Germany and Europe are obviously still allies, but it does seem like there's some real tension here.

WITTIG: We have committed to a pledge to raise our defense budget. We have done so. In the last year, we raised by 9 percent. We committed to incrementally raise the defense spending over the next years in line with what NATO leaders decided last year. That is our opinion.

We don't owe membership dues to NATO. We are paying up all our membership --

CAMEROTA: Yes, yes, you have. I mean, so, why doesn't President Trump understand that, and why is he making this a bone of contention?

WITTIG: We are discussing this with the American administration. We've been reassured by various members of this administration that the West is fully committed, 100 percent committed to NATO. General Mattis told us. General McMaster, the Foreign Secretary Tillerson.

So, we have a good basis that we work on a daily basis. This is a healthy relationship.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, whenever we -- if we see barbed or thinly veiled comments coming from Chancellor Merkel or we see barbed tweet from the president, we should ignore those?

WITTIG: No. You know, spokesman Spicer yesterday I think had a very good statement about the relationship of the two leaders and he said -- this is what we are saying, they have a very productive relationship, that does not mean that we should sweep our differences under the carpet, and we are discussing them openly like the question of climate change, for change. We think that's an important issue that we need to discuss with the U.S.

CAMEROTA: Ambassador Peter Wittig, thank you very much for being on NEW DAY.

WITTIG: It was a pleasure.

[06:45:00] Thank you.


CUOMO: All right. So, a Nashville Predators hockey fan could pay a stiff price for tossing a catfish onto the ice in Pittsburgh. Why did he do it? Why might he pay a stiff price? Answers in the "Bleacher Report" next.


CUOMO: Golf's greatest player ever, Jack Nicklaus, says Tiger Woods needs our help after his DUI arrest in Florida.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report".

He said he is going to need a lot of help from a lot of different people, and I'm going to be one of them.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Chris. Good morning to you.

Two-time masters champ Bubba Watson also said, you know, many golfers want Tiger to know they support him. And Watson said, quote, Whatever the cause of what happened to him, we just want him to get better.

And like you said, Jack Nicklaus went as far as saying, Tiger needs help.


JACK NICKLAUS, GOLF LEGEND: I feel bad for Tiger. Tiger is a friend. He's been great for the game of golf. I think he needs all our help. And we wish him well.

JIM FURYK, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: More than anything else just concern. You know, hopefully, he's OK. And kind of want to find out more about the story and hope all is well.


[06:50:03] SCHOLES: A Predators fan is facing up to six years in prison for throwing a fish during game one of the Stanley Cup Finals. Jacob Waddell smuggled in a catfish in his underwear to PPG Paint Arena in Pittsburgh. He threw it on the ice, which is a tradition in Nashville.

But Waddell is being charged in Pittsburgh with disorderly conduct, disrupting a meeting, and possessing instruments of a crime. Instrument of a crime is, of course, the catfish.

Now, Carrie Underwood is a Predators fan, called Waddell a hero, and, Alisyn, lawyers in Tennessee are actually offering to help Waddell with those charges in Pittsburgh.

CAMEROTA: Six years sounds like a long time for that one.

SCHOLES: Right? It does seem a little harsh.

CAMEROTA: All right, Andy. Thank you very much.

So, Tiger Woods's dui arrest is shedding light on the dangers of prescription drugs and, of course, opioid abuse. One congressman calls this a crisis and one that's about to change. He is next.


CUOMO: All right. So, Tiger Woods is facing a July 5th court date for DUI charge. Woods is apologizing and blaming the incident not on alcohol, but on an unexpected reaction to prescription drugs. Police all over are seeing more of this as opioids that are often prescribed are killing us.

What can we do?

Congressman Tim Murphy, the co-chair of the Mental Health Caucus, wants you to know what they're trying in government.


[06:55:04] CUOMO: The clinical part of your pedigree is relevant because you know the problem away from the politics. First, are we exaggerating?


CUOMO: Is this just the new thing, but it's not different and bad in a way that we should be alarmed?

MURPHY: It's bad, and it's worse than that because not only do you have that death rate, but it's soaring upward. So, as we speak, it gets worse on a regular basis. There are hotspots in this country where it's just awful. There's a lot of death. There's a lot of prescribing practices. There's a lack of treatment in this country. It will continue to get worse until some major changes are made.

CUOMO: Where are we in terms of the commitment to fighting it? Putting Christie in charge of the commission, that sounds good. Cutting the budget sounds a awkwardly incompatible. What's your take?

MURPHY: We can't cut up that budget, because that's like cutting up the CDC or FDA when you are dealing with some other disease issues. We have to ramp that up. Congress has appropriated and a lot more money is put into some of these things, half a billion this year, half a billion additional next year. More funding to come.

But part of the problem was, we put this money towards treatment, and sometimes those treatments are not effective. Plus, we don't have enough providers. Remember, half the counties in America have no psychologist, no psychiatrist, no clinical social worker. And I think the ratio of license drug practitioner is even less. And

here's how bad it gets. Out of every 1,000 people in this country, with a substance abuse disorder, and keep in mind, most of those began with prescription drugs, of every 1,000, 900 don't seek treatment. Of the 100 who do seek treatment, 37 can't find it. Of the 63 who do find it, only six get evidence-based care.

So, what the federal government funds is something called medication assisted therapy or treatment, whereby you can go to the doctor and get a prescription for suboxone and methadone. Those doctors for the most part, the people are not in counseling. They're not getting really evidence-based care to get them off drugs. They're simply getting government sponsored addiction. It's no wonder this problem continues to sail out of control.

CUOMO: The urgency is not matched by the urgency in our government and among politicians. Not a lot of people want to touch this. They'll give lip service. Opioids are bad.

But what are we dealing with in terms of some kind of pervasive statement that if you take drugs it's your fault, and we're not going to throw money at you because this is your own mistake? I mean, why are the numbers so high and yet, the response so low?

MURPHY: I think you see now a growing concern among members of Congress, some of those in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio, Pennsylvania, you see that, and up in New Hampshire, those areas too where the hot spots are, where it's growing.

I know I have a meeting with Governor Christie, and a number of members of Congress did. And there, it's an impassioned change which is growing tremendous. But we have put money into and resources. And I have seen CEOs, high level executives, athletes, young athletes, all across the board -- income, race, gender, whatever it is, that prescribe these and oftentimes the physicians are not saying, look, this is a high risk abuse. I'm only giving you three day's worth, a one day worth.

Instead, it's the flip of that. That mindset has to change among physicians, and we have to make sure that we're not just dumping people in prison. It's not going to make the problem go away.

CUOMO: Christie is put on the head the commission. President Trump says they're going to take care of this. They're supposed to issue a report. What's going on?

MURPHY: Well, I think there's some things were done immediately, and I gave Governor Christie a list of 30 different recommendations. Among them, what can be done right away. For example, there's something called the 42 CFR Part 2, and that is your medical records are blocked from having information if you are on opioids or if you were on treatment for that.

That needs to be as clear as day as if you have an allergy to penicillin. Let's just say, opioid sensitivity. Meaning, don't prescribe this person opioids, come back to emergency room. Second, we need a better system where doctors can find out if you are

already taking some medication for this or in treatment. So, if you are jumping across the state line whether it's New York to New Jersey or Pennsylvania to West Virginia, or whatever that is, they need to type in and see the interstate list. That's not available yet.

We need to also put things like methadone and suboxone on that list so if you are looking positive for taking some opiates, those are two, but those are blocked from those lists now. We also need to get more providers out there. Those are some things which we can do now, especially those lists. Those are things that quite frankly that Secretary Price can make some executive -- can make some decisions on.

CUOMO: Because right now, you have treatment providers spending as much time figuring how to get paid and work their way through insurance companies that are reluctant to pay for this, as they do providing service. That has to change as well.

MURPHY: That has to change as well. And insurance companies need to change too.

You know, diabetes is a chronic problem. They don't say you're only getting a treatment for one week and then you're done. Substance abuse is a chronic problem. If you just tweet for a few days or seven days and send that person back out, there's a pretty good chance that person is not going to get better.

CUOMO: Congressman Tim Murphy, we don't talk about it and we don't test power, nothing is going to change. Thank you for your role in this.

MURPHY: Nice to be here. We have to keep pushing this.


And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Flynn will provide documents in the Senate Intelligence Committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Cohn admitting he would comply if subpoenaed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in unchartered territory with this president.

CUOMO: Sean Spicer refusing to confirm that Jared Kushner tried to set up a secret backchannel to Russia.