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Senate Panel Debating Whether to Let Sessions Testify; Comey Testimony Could Widen Russia Meddling Investigation; President Trump 100 Percent Willing to Testify; Penn State Hazing Trial; When the President Says "Believe Me"; Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 11, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:03] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: It's 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 in the West. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Boris Sanchez in New York in for Ana and you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We begin with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' unexpected offer to put himself in the hot seat on Tuesday, an offer that reportedly surprised members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. A source telling CNN's Manu Raju that senators worry that Sessions may be trying to avoid testifying publicly.
The committee is now debating whether or not to let Attorney General Jeff Sessions testify on Tuesday about his meetings with a Russian ambassador and his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Meantime, President Trump is hurling a fresh insult at the former FBI director, tweeting out, quote, "I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought, possible. Totally illegal? Very cowardly."
The tweet refers to Comey's admission of leaking a memo detailing one of his conversations with the president.
We want to bring in White House correspondent Athena Jones. She is in New Jersey where the president spent the weekend.
Athena, concerning Jeff Sessions' offer to testify, ultimately it's the Intelligence Committee that gets to decide whether or not it's a closed or open hearing, right?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Boris. It's up to the Senate Intelligence Committee to decide not only if the hearing is open or closed but when it takes place.
As you mentioned my colleague Manu Raju reporting that this request by the attorney general took the committee by surprise. That is why we haven't yet gotten a definitive answer about their plans.
And as you also mentioned, there are some members of the committee who are concerned that the attorney general may be trying to avoid testifying publicly. Among those who are concerned is the vice chairman of the committee, the top Democrat, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. Another Democrat on the committee who's concerned about this is Oregon's Ron Wyden. Wyden has sent a letter to the chairman and the vice chairman asking that any session with Sessions be open to the public.
We also have outside groups like the American Civil Liberties Union arguing that any session should be open. And as you also mentioned there are a lot of questions that congressional investigators may have for the attorney general, one of them being all about his involvement in the firing of Comey as FBI director.
We know that Comey has said he believed he was firing because of his handling of the Russia investigation. We know that Sessions was involved in that firing, even though Sessions was supposed to have recused himself from the Russian investigation, from many investigation involved in the 2016 campaign of which he was a part of Trump's campaign.
So we still don't know exactly when this will take place and if we'll be able to watch it. But we do know that there are a lot of questions that congressional investigators have for the attorney general -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: Athena, we're still in suspense about whether or not this testimony is even going to happen as we're still in suspense over whether or not there are recordings by President Trump as he lands at an air force base spending the weekend in New Jersey. He's heading back now to the White House.
Athena, back to the question I have. We're still in suspense whether or not there were recordings of his meetings with James Comey. What did you learn about that?
JONES: That's right. This has been a big mystery here ever since the president almost a month ago tweeted this suggestion that there may be those tapes. What we've heard from a member of his legal team today, Jay Sekulow, who was speaking on ABC's "This Week" and said that working with his other attorney, Marc Kasowitz, the president wanted to address this issue next week, which means in the coming days. We should find out if there are recordings of any sort of those conversations.
But even if we find out that there are recordings, it doesn't necessarily mean we'll find out that the White House is going to agree to turn those recordings over to congressional investigators. And this is an issue that has been on the minds not only of journalists but also members of Congress.
Listen to what Republicans Senator Susan Collins and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein had to say about this whole tape issue on "STATE OF THE UNION."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: He should voluntarily turn them over not only to the Senate Intelligence Committee but to the special counsel. So I don't think a subpoena should be necessary. And I don't understand why the president just doesn't clear this matter up once and for all. SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: There were no witnesses. If
there are tapes, please, and the president is equivocal on this, bring those tapes forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So there you heard demands from both parties that the president answer this question of whether there are any sort of recordings. And if there are recordings, to turn them over. You heard Senator Collins saying that a subpoena shouldn't be necessary, but we'll have to wait and see if it ultimately is.
Feinstein also took to Twitter in the last couple of hours tweeting a challenge to the president, "Release the tapes, Mr. President. What are you afraid of?"
[20:05:02] So poking the president a bit there. We'll see how he responds -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: All right, Athena Jones, reporting from New Jersey where the president spent the weekend. Thank you.
Let's dig deeper with our panel. Joining me now CNN political analyst and a columnist for the "Washington Post," Josh Rogin, CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem, and CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.
Josh, let's start with you. It is up to the Senate Intelligence Committee as to whether or not the Sessions hearing is open or closed ultimately. What do you expect them to decide?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, I can see the predicament that they're in because they want both, right? They want the open and the close testimony. Each one has a different value. In a closed testimony they can actually get their investigative work done and figure out what was going on with these meetings between Sessions and the Russians, if there are really any there-there, what the substance was, at least as much as Sessions is willing to provide.
But the open hearings are what tell the American people what they're doing, right? So there's value in both. But the situation they don't want to be in is they don't want to seen as stealing the Sessions testimony away from the Senate Appropriations Committee and away from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which also have very good reasons to have the attorney general testify in public, right?
There's stuff going on all over the world and that Jeff Sessions is involved in. It has nothing to do with the Russia investigation. So they're between a rock and a hard place. Right? They want everything, and Sessions doesn't seem to be willing to give them everything. So they're going to have to negotiate and come up with a solution.
SANCHEZ: And Juliette, what do you make of this report that some senators fear that he may be trying to avoid public testimony? JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think he clearly
is. I mean, this is the second appropriations hearing that he's avoided. And part of that, as Josh was explaining, has to do with whether he lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee in his confirmation hearing, remember that controversy regarding how many times or whether he had met with Russians, a fact that was only learned later. So there is I think a sense amongst senators on the Judiciary Committee that he's sort of hiding from them.
But also on Josh's point, what -- there's sort of a mythology out there that Trump administration can get past Trump-Russia, if only they can just get past it and Trump stop tweeting or whatever. And I think this whole brouhaha about Sessions shows that they're not getting past it. The tentacles of the investigation are too broad, too wide, covering too many people in the administration that until it's resolved, that it's going to be very hard for some of these cabinet secretaries to function effectively and run government as people expect them to.
SANCHEZ: Douglas, to you, whether or not it's a closed or open session it's still historically significant that the attorney general of the United States is going to be testifying in this situation, right?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, very much so. But it makes sense for Jeff Sessions to get this out of the way as quickly as he can. The great poet of New England, Robert Frost, once said, the only way out is through. The only way out of this Russia probe is to go through it. So for Sessions to kind of go in there quickly, do it this week and maybe try to get it behind him. Because if he waits and does it after the Mueller report comes out months from now perhaps, there'll be a lot more questions.
Right now it's about the Comey situation, why did you not -- you know, stay there for, you know, and you lingered but then you left. Why did you do that? How many times did you meet the Russian ambassador? Maybe he didn't meet him a third time, so he might be able to clear the air a little bit for himself. And remember, many of these Republican senators really like Jeff Sessions. He's been a colleague of theirs for a long time and he just gone through a grueling confirmation hearing so he will know how to handle himself, whether it's a private or public this week.
SANCHEZ: And Juliette, we heard from Preet Bharara today. He's the U.S. attorney that was fired by President Trump. He talked about several phone calls he received from the president. And he said that listening to Comey's testimony was like deja vu. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: So he called me in December essentially just to shoot the breeze and ask me how I was doing and wanted to make sure I was OK. It was similar to what Comey testified to with respect to a call he got when he was getting on the helicopter. I didn't say anything at the time to him. It was a little bit uncomfortable but he was not the president, he was only the president-elect. He called me again two days before the inauguration, again seemingly to check in and shoot the breeze. And then he called me a third time when he became -- after he became president and I refused to return the call. And in reporting the phone call to the chief of staff, to the attorney general, I said it appeared to be that he was trying to cultivate some kind of relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: The day after he reported that phone call, he was fired. Now he called it cultivating a relationship. James Comey called it patronage.
[20:10:05] Does that to you signal there's a pattern developing with President Trump in which he tries to build personal relationships with people that he should really keep at arms distance?
KAYYEM: Absolutely. It does show a pattern and practice of behavior towards people who are investigating or close to investigations that impact Trump or his family. Remember Preet Bharara was the U.S. attorney in New York which covers the Trump family.
KAYYEM: As well as the -- as well as the family, and what he was investigating we still don't know. But it sounded so familiar to anyone listening to both testimonies and also just getting back to Sessions, the attorney general's failure to protect his underling, Preet or Comey, was also very familiar. So in some ways Sessions is sort of back in the news because of that interview today.
But, you know, look, the idea that Donald Trump did not know what he's doing, that sort of mythology sort of cultivated I think by, you know, Paul Ryan and others, you know, it appears that Donald Trump knew exactly what he was doing, and he did it again and again. Now that's for someone to decide whether that's a legal case, but certainly from the outside it looks like it is a pattern of behavior that he's done throughout his adult life.
SANCHEZ: Josh, Preet Bharara said that in several years he spoke on the phone with President Obama zero times. It happened three times in less than three months with President Trump. Similarly, James Comey said that he met with President Obama privately twice in all of his years of service. With President Trump that number was nine, nine different times, three meetings, six phone calls. Is that unusual?
ROGIN: Yes, it's very unusual. And I agree with Juliette, I think this is -- this whole idea that Donald Trump is just like a novice who doesn't understand that you're not supposed to -- you know, try to make friends with the guy who's investigating you. I don't know buy that at all. I think this is how he operates. I think he was checking in to see if these guys were onboard with the program and when they weren't on board, he fired them. And the evidence is that he fired them, OK.
So, you know, this is also speaks to the situation that Jeff Sessions is in, right? We know from a lot of reporting both inside the White House and from the Justice Department that Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump aren't on the best terms, right? The president is unhappy with how Sessions has handled his recusal from the Russia investigation.
SANCHEZ: He offered his resignation.
ROGIN: Well, he didn't ask for it. Sessions offered. The president refused to it.
SANCHEZ: Right. So, you know, Sessions is in the same position. Does he do what's loyal to Trump or does he do what he needs to do protect himself now that he's wrapped up in all of this investigation stuff? And he -- he can't win, right? It's a lose-lose. That's why he wants to talk behind closed doors because if he's going into the open he's going to have to choose between backing up Trump's story, perhaps putting himself in further jeopardy or saving himself, and then maybe losing his job.
SANCHEZ: If it does happen, all eyes will be on Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, even if it is a closed door session.
Josh Rogin, Juliette Kayyem, and Douglas Brinkley, thank you so much for the time. We appreciate it.
ROGIN: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Ahead in the NEWSROOM, as news over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' offer to testify sits in the forefront, the question still on everyone's mind, will Trump end up testifying?
Plus a chilling death at Penn State out of a fraternity house after a hazing incident goes too far. Well, these fraternity brothers are likely to face in court tomorrow morning.
And later, presidential party crasher. The must-see moment when President Trump gives a bride and groom the surprise of their lives.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:17:50] SANCHEZ: He took a bold step by becoming the first senator to back Donald Trump during the campaign. And just two days from now Attorney General Jeff Sessions could find himself in the hot seat. His former colleagues in the Senate are debating whether to let him testify on his role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and his private meetings with Russian officials. Just one of the many developments in a still growing controversy surrounding the Trump White House.
Here's CNN's Brianna Keilar.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president's declaration that he is willing to testify under oath.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 100 percent.
KEILAR: Suggests the special counsel probe into Russian election hacking could now include Mr. Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.
SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: Since part of this, as was indicated yesterday, goes to the rationale behind the firing of Mr. Comey and the rationale of trying to deflect if not stop the investigation of General Flynn, involves to some degree the president so I would expect at some point, not right away, but at some point that Mr. Mueller would feel he has to depose the president.
KEILAR: Comey's memos which he says he wrote immediately after meetings and phone calls with President Trump are now in Mueller's possession. Those memos could form the basis of expanding the investigation to include the president's alleged asking of Comey to back off his investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, something Comey hinted at on Thursday.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Do you believe this will rise to obstruction of justice?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I don't know. That's Bob Mueller's job to sort that out.
KEILAR: It appears Mueller may also be looking into others around the president. Sources tell CNN Comey told senators behind closed doors Thursday that the FBI has investigated the possibility of an undisclosed third encounter at the Mayflower Hotel between Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sources tell CNN the meeting was discussed in an intercepted call between Russian officials, though investigators have not concluded if it occurred.
The Justice Department insists there was no encounter but Democrats are pouncing.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: What we have is a pattern of contacts with the Russians by Flynn, by Sessions, by Kushner. Secret and then concealed. In fact, denied, possibly in violation of the law, that denial as former Director Comey --
[20:20:08] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: So it could be perjury?
BLUMENTHAL: It could be perjury.
KEILAR: The drip, drip, drip on the Russia story shows no sign of abating.
TRUMP: So, Jared, maybe I'll let you take over for a little while?
KEILAR: CNN has told the Senate Intelligence Committee will soon interview Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser. And Flynn has now turned over 600 pages of subpoenaed documents to the House Intelligence Committee but is still refusing to testify without immunity.
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: I'm glad that Michael Flynn has turned them over. I hope that other witnesses will do the same, and that in due course he'll come in front of the committee and that the other witnesses that we've identified will come over also.
KEILAR (on camera): Another development, Deutsch Bank has responded to requests from Democratic lawmakers for information about Donald Trump's loans. It says it is not going to comply with those requests, that it would be a violation of federal privacy laws to do so.
Briana Keilar, CNN, Washington.
SANCHEZ: Brianna, thank you.
Thanks to a very busy week in Washington, there are some stories you might have missed. First, President Trump's $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia may be fake news. The Brookings Institution says there are a letters of interest or intent but no actual contracts. Brookings also notes that nothing has been turned over to the Senate for review. And the deals that have been identified actually started under President Obama.
And overseas South Korea says it will not deploy a controversial U.S. missile defense system. It's a move that could help better relations with China which feared the system could be used as a spy tool. South Korea says it will keep two previously deployed launchers in place, though.
In health news, the popular game Minecraft could make a huge difference in the lives of kids living in refugee camps. NYU researchers say young Syrian refugees who regularly played the game felt less -- significantly less hopeless. Apparently giving kids a sense of control and possibility.
In tech news, is President Trump violating your First Amendment rights? If he's blocked you on Twitter, he might be. Lawyers from Columbia University are now calling on the president to stop blocking people on the social media site. They argue the president's Twitter handle is a public forum that all Americans should have access to.
And lastly, your money story, a record number of women are now leading Fortune 500 companies. 32 firms in all. 32 of 500 may not sound like that much, but the number is up more than 50 percent compared to last year.
Those are the stories you might have missed this week, and we still have plenty coming up. 100 percent, that's how President Trump answered a question about whether or not he's willing to testify under oath. And the big question now is, will he be called to testify?
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:27:17] SANCHEZ: Moments ago President Donald Trump returned home to Washington after a weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. At his side First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, who's now going to officially take up residence at the White House that the school year has ended, and he is moving in.
President Trump's other son appears to support former director -- former FBI Director James Comey on at least one point that when his father wants something done, he's crystal clear about it. Listen to Donald Trump, Jr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: When he tells you to do something, guess what, there is no ambiguity in it. There's no, hey, I'm hoping. You and I are friends, hey, I hope this happens, but you've got to do your job. That's what he told Comey. And for this guy as a politician to then go back and write a memo, oh I felt -- he felt so threatened but he didn't do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: James Comey told the Senate committee last week that he took the president's words about hoping to drop an investigation into Michael Flynn as a directive and an inappropriate one.
I want to get two of our top legal analysts in here to discuss, Paul Callan and Michael Zeldin.
Gentlemen, thank you so much again for joining us.
Paul, to you. Two days ago President Trump was asked if he would be willing to testify under oath about his conversations with James Comey. He responded, quote, "100 percent." If you were his attorney, would you advise him to testify?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, I would rate that as a colossal error because by his testifying under oath he exposes himself to the potential -- for accusations that he has lied under oath, much has happened to Bill Clinton. And also, you know, when the president says he's willing to testify under oath, I'm not sure what that means. I mean, is he going to answer questions at a deposition or in front of a grand jury or is he saying I would submit an affidavit under oath?
I think I need a little more clarity with respect to what he's actually committing to. You really have to pin the president down specifically to know what he's talking about.
SANCHEZ: Michael, what did you think when you heard the president say that?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, my god was what I thought. If I was his attorney, I would have been horrified that my client has agreed to do something that he probably will in the end have to do, but why step forward and say, I'm going to do that, which then puts him in the untenable position of having to back away from it if he doesn't do it.
Now the president has a history of doing that. He has said with respect to taxes and birthers and other things that he's going to do, and he doesn't do it. So it maybe just that it comes natural to him. But in pure legal terms, it was not well-advised for him to have said that.
SANCHEZ: I want you, fellas, to listen to this tweet from Ari Fleischer.
[20:30:04] He's the former White House press secretary under George W. Bush. He writes, quote, "Advice for president of the United States. You have not been vindicated. You won't be unless Bob Mueller says so. Stop talking. You're heading into a giant perjury trap."
Paul, should the president's attorneys tell him to stop talking, to put away the tweets, and just be quiet?
CALLAN: They should absolutely tell him that, and I have no doubt that they probably in the past have told him that. His staff certainly has told him that, but he doesn't listen. He views this as his direct communication mode with the American people. But as any lawyer who will tell you who's involved in criminal investigations, it's very easy for a client to trip himself up and get in major trouble through speaking directly and through the use of social media. It's a real problem and it's going to be more of a problem as these investigations continue.
ZELDIN: That's right. And may I add something to that? Because one of the things that we've heard Alan Dershowitz and others have an interesting point with respect to obstruction of justice which is that they believe -- and I'm not sure that I disagree -- but they believe that you cannot obstruct justice if you're doing something which you are constitutionally entitled to do, which in case is fire the FBI director. But when it's combined with false statements or perjury, then it becomes obstruction of justice. So this -- as Ari Fleischer said he's walking potentially into a perjury trap if he says something that's -- you know, sort of a lie to put it easily. And that's something that Marc Kasowitz, of course, wants him to avoid.
CALLAN: And you know, Boris, we have to -- I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt.
SANCHEZ: Sure. No, it's fine.
CALLAN: We have to remember, of course, to Bill Clinton. You know, during the Whitewater investigation, who would have thought that Monica Lewinsky would be the topic that would wind up causing him to face impeachment, but that's exactly what happened. So you -- by lying or testifying untruthfully with respect to even what lawyers would call a collateral matter, a side matter, you can expose yourself to criminal prosecution. It's a lie -- if you lie under oath, that's a crime. If you lie to
the FBI, that's a crime. There are lots of ways to get yourself in trouble whenever there's an investigation like this going on.
ZELDIN: Yes. Indeed, if you look at the Articles of Impeachment against Nixon and against Clinton, they're both lies. That's what the Articles of Impeachment involved. Lies.
CALLAN: Yes, absolutely.
SANCHEZ: So we're running out of time, but I'm really interested to hear your perspective on this, Michael. Let's say the president does testify, a hypothetical. If he stands by his line and says that he did not tell the president or rather he did not tell James Comey that he hoped the Flynn thing would go away, does that mean that one of them is committing perjury or is there, as some argue, a gray area where Comey's interpretation of "hope" may change the way that this shakes out?
ZELDIN: Well, it depends on how the testimony comes out. If the president said I did say I hope that you could find a way, you know, to let Flynn go, but if the facts warrant it, of course do your job, that's, you know, a shiny gloss on their story. If he says, I never said it, he's making that up, that's perjury, and if it's proven to not be true. So you could try --
CALLAN: Can I add --
ZELDIN: You could try to explain in a way, I didn't mean it, as Donald Trump, Jr. tried to explain it away, only getting his father in further trouble, I think. But if you're asked a specific question and you give a lie of an answer, that's perjury.
SANCHEZ: Very, very quickly, Paul.
CALLAN: You know, I agree -- I agree with Michael, and I think it's very interesting that clip you just played, Boris, from Donald Trump. Now he says when Trump gives an order to somebody, they know it's an order. Well, what did Comey testified? Comey said, although he used the word hope, it was clear to me he was giving me a directive to drop the Flynn investigation. So maybe the words of Donald Trump don't exonerate his father. Maybe they incriminate his father.
ZELDIN: I think that's right.
SANCHEZ: All right. We'll have to leave it -- we'll have to leave it at that.
Paul Callan and Michael Zeldin, thank you both for joining us tonight.
ZELDIN: Thank you.
CALLAN: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Puerto Rico is voting today on whether or not to become the 51st state. We're still waiting for the official results. If they say yes, it wouldn't be the first time Puerto Ricans chose statehood in a referendum back in 2012, but that went nowhere. If a vote in favor of statehood prevails this time around, it could see a tough battle in Congress.
Now the island is facing some serious economic problems. For one, it is billions of dollars in debt and embattling high poverty rates and struggling entitlement programs.
Tonight's brand new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," W. Kamau Bell visits Puerto Rico to try and shed light on a small island including its culture. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:35:07] W. KAMAU BELL, HOST, CNN'S "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA": So Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not by choice. In 1898 the United States invades Puerto Rico and claims it as a prize from the Spanish-American war.
BELL: So you believe that Puerto Rico would have been better off if it was officially a state?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Independence hasn't worked not because we haven't tried but because we've been so repressed.
BELL: Puerto Ricans can't vote for the president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's true.
BELL: Doesn't make sense, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That doesn't make sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Barack Obama were to move to Puerto Rico he lose his right to cast an absentee ballot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the business front, we're limited in our growth. Even the poorest states, they still have an income per capita that's more than twice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People of color have always been invisible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are American citizen, yet we don't have the same rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:40:07] SANCHEZ: Eighteen Penn State fraternity members accused in the hazing death of a pledge will face a judge tomorrow. Timothy Piazza, just 19 years old, died after a hazing ritual on the first night of pledging Beta Theta Pi. Piazza and other pledges were allegedly forced to binge drink dangerous amounts of alcohol when he fell down a 15-foot flight of stairs and then fell several more times. Police were not called until the next morning.
CNN correspondent Sara Ganim spoke with Piazza's parents about the tragic death of their son -- Sara.
SARA GANIM, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris, the most significant thing that could happen tomorrow was that prosecutors could decide to show the surveillance video from inside that fraternity house, the 12 hours that Tim Piazza struggled and declined before turning ashen and then nonresponsive.
I spoke with his parents last month about the details from that surveillance tape and the hours that their son spent struggling. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES PIAZZA, TIMOTHY PIAZZA'S FATHER: They killed him. They fed him lethal doses of alcohol, and they killed him. And then they treated him like road kill, like a rag doll. They slapped him around, they through water on him. One kid punched his area that was clearly visible.
EVELYN PIAZZA, TIMOTHY PIAZZA'S MOTHER: They said the spleen was shattered.
J. PIAZZA: It was chilling. As a parent, it was chilling. In my mind, it was murder. They let him suffer for 12 hours. They let him die a very slow death. It's not any way anybody should ever be treated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GANIM: Tomorrow's hearing is a hearing to determine if there's enough evidence to move forward to a trial for these 18 fraternity members who are charged. Attorneys for these men have been mostly tight- lipped, but some of them did tell me that they plan to fight these charges. One saying that, quote, "gathering the pitchforks and taking aim at these young men is extremely disappointing." That attorney also went on to say this.
"The government assumes that these young men, many of whom were intoxicated themselves, should have been able to differentiate symptoms of extreme intoxication from symptoms of a life threatening head injury. That is an impossible burden to place on them."
Of course that's the view of the attorney. We'll see what the judge says after the hearing tomorrow -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: Sara Ganim, thank you.
Stay with us. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:46:38] SANCHEZ: Earlier we mentioned that President Trump is back in Washington after another trip at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. That club actually hosted a wedding reception this weekend and look at him crash the party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Looking good, Donald.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep it up. You did it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, where's your red hat?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, looking good, baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: The crowd obviously enjoying the presidential cameo, but this is the same club that recently came under fire after "The New York Times" reported that it advertised a potential wedding appearance by the president in sales brochures. A club spokesman says the brochure has since been discontinued.
On to another presidential encounter passengers aboard a Delta flight from Atlanta to Washington were given a rare treat, a chance to meet a former president in person. James Parker Sheffield captured this video on Thursday of former president Jimmy Carter walking down the aisle of the plane shaking everyone's hand. Sheffield told Atlanta's WWSP-TV that it's hard to put into words what a nice reprieve from the current political theater the moment was. Sheffield tweeted the video which has since been re-tweeted over 10,000 times.
Anthony Bourdain has taken us to many exotic locations in search of fine cuisine and adventure. Tonight he visits an Arab nation on the cusp of what's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST, CNN'S "PARTS UNKNOWN": A uniquely fascinating country. You probably can't find it on the map. It has incredible beaches, mountains, pristine desert. It practices a tolerant, nonsectarian form of Islam. One of the most beautiful, most friendly, generous, hospitable places I've ever been. Talking about Oman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: My colleague and the regular anchor of this program Ana Cabrera sat down with Anthony Bourdain to find out more about his trip to Oman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOURDAIN: You're going to have a, you know, one-party rule with an absolute ruler, a monarchy, a sultan, you could do worse than Oman. The sultan there transformed his country almost overnight from a nation with two hospitals, almost no schools, no roads, you know, still stuck in the 17th century essentially, and took what limited oil resources they had and pumped them back into infrastructure, education, the things that Omanis needed. They practice an extraordinary form of Islam called Ibadi which pretty non-sectarian and famously tolerant.
[20:50:10] There's a mix of cultures there that could be tricky in a mismanaged nation. You know, people speak Swahili, Farsi, they speak Arabic. As you mentioned, the Ibadis have a rich tradition of traveling and trading with the Far East. So all of those flavors have come back there.
It is an extraordinary beautiful country. Unlike the other Gulf States, no skyscrapers, modern buildings. They have knowingly and carefully preserved their culture, their architecture, the way things look and feel. It is really a unique and special place that more people should visit.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Did you feel pretty comfortable when you're there?
BOURDAIN: I mean, that's a place that one would and should feel safe.
CABRERA: You don't hear about violent extremism there?
CABRERA: From people living there.
BOURDAIN: Absolutely not. It's a very safe nation. The role of women is extraordinarily enlightened relative to its neighbors. It's a pretty amazing place that not a lot of people unfortunately know about.
CABRERA: It sounds fascinating. And I know, I guess, if there were to be a tourist attraction of some sort maybe that it has the largest sand desert in the world and the home of the Bedouin people.
BOURDAIN: The Bedouin. There are a few more beautiful places there to me than the empty quarter sitting on a dune, you know, under a full moon looking out at the sea of sand. But they also have incredibly beautiful mountains and a base line.
CABRERA: What is the lifestyle like for those people who live in the sand desert?
BOURDAIN: I think the Bedouin, and I have some experience with them elsewhere in the region, one guy on the show compares him to people who live very -- choose to live in very harsh, you know, region -- very harsh environments. Always close to things going terribly wrong. You know, you get stuck alone in the desert with no friends, no communication and no water. You're not going to last long. But they built a society like that anticipates that and supports the -- they support each other and operate in a way that's quite lovely and austere and beautiful.
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SANCHEZ: It is a fascinating place. Be sure to catch Anthony Bourdain "PARTS UNKNOWN: OMAN" tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN.
[20:57:09] SANCHEZ: Finally this hour, President Trump is a big believer in two words. Jeanne Moos explains.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who says President Trump is a man of deep beliefs.
TRUMP: Believe me.
MOOS: He was deep in "Believe mes."
TRUMP: Believe me, we've just begun.
MOOS: Dropping five of them.
TRUMP: Believe me.
MOOS: As he announced the U.S. would drop out --
TRUMP: Believe me.
MOOS: -- of the Paris Climate Accord.
TRUMP: Believe me. This is not what we need.
MOOS: But what's five-in-one speech?
TRUMP: Because believe me there's no collusion.
MOOS: When he's been a believer at the rate of two in under 10 seconds.
TRUMP: My total priority, believe me, is the United States of America's.
MOOS (on camera): What is Trump's usage like compared to other people?
TYLER SCHNOEBELEN, LINGUIST: Yes. Trump's usage is off the charts.
MOOS (voice-over): Linguist Tyler Schnoebelen actually has made charts of Trump's usage.
TRUMP: Believe me. Believe me. Believe me. Believe me. Believe me. I know.
MOOS: Linguist tallied Trump at 580 occurrences per million words versus a measly six for Hillary Clinton.
(On camera): Yes, it seems to me it's a time killer or a time filler to collect your thoughts.
SCHNOEBELEN: You're emphasizing something, but it also lets you play for time.
MOOS: Jon Stewart has another theory.
JON STEWART, FORMER "DAILY SHOW" HOST: Nobody says believe me unless they are lying.
MOOS: The addiction to saying --
TRUMP: Believe me.
MOOS: -- is ironic for someone who's often described --
TRUMP: Thousands and thousands of people were cheering --
MOOS: -- as having his pants on fire.
AARON SHAROCKMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, POLITIFACT: The 2015 PolitiFact Lie of the Year goes to the collective misstatements of Donald Trump.
SCHNOEBELEN: I had lots of friends tell me that their parents explicitly told me don't believe anyone who says believe me. But that doesn't seem to be the case that this is just an easy marker of lying.
TRUMP: Nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.
MOOS (on camera): And you personally, you don't say, here comes a lie, when he says believe me?
SCHNOEBELEN: No, I don't.
TRUMP: We're going to knock the hell out of ISIS, believe me.
SCHNOEBELEN: He's really at his most Trumpian when he uses it.
MOOS (voice-over): You better believe it.
Jeanne Moos, CNN --
TRUMP: Believe, believe, believe, believe, believe, believe, believe me. Can you believe it?
MOOS: -- New York.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SANCHEZ: Well, it's supposed to be a modern twist on a classic Shakespeare play, but critics say that New York's public theater production of Julius Caesar is inappropriate because the Caesar-like character bears an uncanny resemblance to President Trump.
Take a look. As a result of the violent depiction which comes on the heels of Kathy Griffin holding up what appeared to be a severed Trump head, Delta Airlines stopped its sponsorship of this performance, telling CNN, quote, "No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summer's 'Free Shakespeare in the Park' does not reflect Delta Airlines' values and creative director crossed the line of the standards of the taste. We've notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of the public theater effective immediately."
We thank you so much for joining us tonight. "ANTHONY BOURDAIN, PARTS UNKNOWN" starts right now.