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Hill Speaks out Amid Weinstein Scandal; Veteran's Music is Medicine; Gold Star Families on Trump's Response; Dow Crosses Milestone. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 18, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A young reporter, three years out of college, and I was at my first -- one of my first TV jobs. And all of us, when you were testifying, we would go in -- crowd into the conference room to watch you. And this was men, women -- I mean all of us were riveted. And it felt like something was changing. It felt like because of your testimony something was going to change. And even afterwards, it felt like maybe there was more awareness and that something had changed. And I'm just curious of how it felt from where you were sitting back then.

ANITA HILL, ACCUSED CLARENCE THOMAS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: From where I was sitting, it was agonizing, of course. And I had no idea during the testimony what would happen afterwards, what would happen to me or what would happen to the public in general and our understanding of sexual harassment.

CAMEROTA: So, fast-forward 26 years. Here we are again during the Harvey Weinstein scandal. What has it been like for you to watch these women come forward and watch all of this unfold?

HILL: Well, the details are clearly shocking. But the behavior itself is not surprising because I have heard from women, thousands of them over the past 26 years, about behavior of this kind that they've endured.

But I have to say, this time, I have to give the media credit because you've stuck with this story and you've moved beyond the old pad questions like, why do women -- why don't women come forward or why didn't they speak up sooner?

And I think we've, by digging deeper, we've actually gotten to the bottom of that question and gotten answers that it is dangerous to actually come forward, even today. But we've also gotten to some questions about how this kind of behavior can be sustained over three decades. And those are going to be important questions as we move forward, and especially if we transfer that information to what's happening, not just in Hollywood, but to women all over the country.

CAMEROTA: But what is the answer to that, professor? How is it possible that one powerful man can victimize scores of women over decades?

HILL: Well, in the case of Harvey Weinstein, he had included in his contract with the Weinstein Company, I understand, clauses that allowed for him to sort of pay his way out through settlements if there were sexual harassment complaints against him. In addition, when those settlements were entered into, the women were kept from talking about them. And so he was limiting his exposure through contract claims -- or, excuse me, through clauses.

There were also problems with the board's oversight of his behavior. They seem to have turned a blind eye to what were some real red flags, and refuse, actually, to hold Mr. Weinstein accountable for what was going on. So there was a whole system, and there were people who were enablers and complicit in the behavior themselves. And there was money and power involved.

CAMEROTA: As there so often is, the money and power involved. And it's interesting to see how different powerful men have fared against these accusations. Obviously, Clarence Thomas is a Supreme Court justice. President Trump, who, when the "Access Hollywood" tape came out, many women thought, well, that would be the end, but he was elected president. And then there's Harvey Weinstein, who, in short order, has been terminated, and Roger Ailes, who, in short order, after accusations, he was ousted from Fox News.

And, so, where do you think we are today with scenarios like this?

HILL: Well, as you've stated before, awareness has been raised. But clearly we have not held everybody accountable. And we don't have any real way to think about this when we have these public figures, how do we hold each of them accountable.

You know, the public, in Donald Trump's case, voted. And so it was an election. And, in politics, I think it's very different than in business. The laws really do deal with what goes on in the workplace. The anti-discrimination laws that people bring harassment claims under deal only with the workplace. They do not deal with politics. And that's one distinction I think that we need to take into account when we talk about how people escape.

[08:35:14] But I would also say that the way you define escape is important, too, because Donald Trump is still scrutinized for his "Access Hollywood" comments. And I believe so is Clarence Thomas, even though he sits on the Supreme Court.

CAMEROTA: Well, Professor Anita Hill, it's great to talk to you. I know that you thought that you would just talk about this for the two years after 1991 to bring awareness, but here we are 26 years later still talking about it and we appreciate you being a part of this conversation.

HILL: Can I just say one more thing, though?


HILL: I think we do have to ask ourself in this moment, how far have we come to equality? How close are we, if, in fact, women are having to endure this kind of behavior in their day-to-day lives in the workplace and on the streets. And if we ask ourselves that question, we need to also ask today for our leadership, whether it's in the public or private sector, to step up and tell us what they're going to do to stop the problem.

CAMEROTA: That is the next chapter of this conversation because, obviously, that's where we need to.

HILL: Well, I hope we get to it soon.

CAMEROTA: And we've been trying to ask our leaders about that as well.

Anita Hill, thank you very much for being on NEW DAY.

HILL: Thank you.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, in an interesting twist, a situation that the president had been ignoring is now dominating analysis of him. He is taking heat for politicizing military service and sacrifice in the wake of this ambush of soldiers in Niger. Gold star family members, who has, of course, suffered because of the ultimate sacrifice, they join us next.

CAMEROTA: But first, a former combat medic is using his rap skills to help his military brothers and sisters overcome depression and suicidal thoughts. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces you to Doc Todd in this "Turning Points."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Doc Todd is a hip-hop artist, and a veteran.

MIK "DOC" TODD, VETERAN AND HIP HOP ARTIST: I was a Navy corpsmen, which is essentially a combat medic. So I was deployed in 2009 to southern Afghanistan. My roommate was killed on the first day. I was ultimately medevaced for bilateral a-typical pneumonia, which just simply means I had pneumonia in both lungs. I told my friends all the time, like I'd have rather got shot because that's like more heroic. The struggle with depression. I've struggled with anxiety. I thought school was a really important part of my transition. I started building a career in wealth management.

GUPTA: But after a client of his died, Todd had a change of heart.

TODD: I went to Philadelphia for the funeral, and then, you know, we buried so many friends to whether it be suicide or substance abuse. I really just had enough.

GUPTA: He quit his job to pursue his true passion, music.

TODD: Growing up free style rapping is something that I did.

GUPTA: Now he hopes that his album, "Combat Medicine" will help veterans heal.

TODD (RAPPING): The struggle is real. Found a peace but lost his soul. But eventually my drinking got out of control.

TODD (on camera): "Not Alone," the song is designed to attack veteran suicide and let people know that there's other people out there that have been through the same things that you've and through and they've overcome them.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.



[08:42:47] CAMEROTA: President Trump, this morning, taking on a Florida congresswoman saying that she totally fabricated his remarks to the widow of a fallen soldier. So what are those presidential phone calls like days after your loved one is killed in action? Our next guests know all too well. They are both gold star families. Joining us is Craig Gross, whose son Corporal Frank Gross was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2011, And Ryan Manion, who lose her brother, First Lieutenant Travis Manion in Iraq in 2007.

Thanks to both of you for being here and thank you so much for the sacrifice to our country.



CAMEROTA: Craig, I'll start with you.

I don't know if you've been following everything that's happened over the past 24 hours with President Trump claiming that it's very hard to call the families. Obviously we know that. And that he doesn't think that his -- many of his predecessors did it. We know that that's not true. And then saying to the widow of Sergeant Johnson, well, that's what he signed up for but I know it still must hurt. What have you been thinking as you've been listening to all of this play out?

GROSS: Well, first of all, my experience, both with President Obama and President Trump have been very positive. President Obama reached out to us via a letter. It was a very nice letter. It was basically a letter of condolence. And my wife and I, we cherish that letter.

And as far as President Trump is concerned, I believe that he has a very, very good heart as far as gold star families is concerned. He invited us to the White House just recently and spent actually several hours with us, had a candlelight service in memory of all of our sons, there were 50 families there from throughout the United States. So, you know, my experience with both of our presidents have been very positive.

CAMEROTA: Craig, that's so good to hear. I mean it is so good to hear from your personal perspective. And I know that when you met with President Trump, part of it was

designed so that he could learn how to better reach out to gold star families. I mean during the campaign, as you'll remember, he got a lot of criticism for criticizing a gold star family, Khizr Khan, and obviously the White House was making an overture to all of you to figure out how he could do it better.

[08:45:10] So, in the past 48 hours, do you think that he's gotten it right?

GROSS: I believe that President Trump is doing a lot of good things as far as gold star families is concerned. And my perception of this story is, is that his words are basically being taken and misconstrued. I believe that if you interviewed him personally, one- on-one, you would find that he's very, very empathetic and very compassionate, not only toward gold star families, but also in regards to our active duty. I believe he has an big heart for them as well.

CAMEROTA: Ryan, how do you see it? How -- what has it been like for you to have gold star families and all of your issues and these terribly sensitive phone calls thrusts into the lime light over these past 48 hours?

MANION: Well, you know, my experience has been similar. We -- after my brother was killed in 2007, we did receive a phone call from President Bush with an invitation to visit him in the Oval Office, and which we did six months after Travis was killed. Similarly when the Obama administration was there, we were invited on a few different occasions with other gold star families to be present at Memorial Day breakfast and such.

And, you know, I think, at the end of the day, what we have to look at is the idea of politicizing gold star families. I know I've had several people over the last 24 hours ask me if I was called by the president when Travis was killed, ask me if I know people that were called by President Obama when their loved ones were killed because through my work I deal with a lot of gold star families. And the fact of the matter is, is that gold star families are not talking to each other about whether or not the president called. What is important to gold star families is to make sure that their loved one's service and legacy is remembered.

And I think that's the bigger story here. We need to make sure that we stop talking about who's calling our gold star families and we start talking about these gold star families and what they represent to this country and we start sharing their loved ones' stories.

CAMEROTA: And, Ryan, what do you want us to know. I mean I think that in some ways, you know, the silver lining of all of these kind of sometimes uncomfortable conversations, that it does bring attention to the cause that you want highlighted. So what do you want us to take away from these past 24 hours and what should we know about gold star families?

MANION: Well, I mean, I have the incredible privilege to work with gold star families each and every day through our work at thee Travis Manion Foundation. And thee one thing that I see each and every day is the resiliency of these families. They do not want just their loved ones names to be remembered. They want to get out there and honor them themselves. And we have seen such tremendous things happen, growth and strength happen with these families.

I travelled just this past January to Guatemala with 20 other families of the fallen where we built a house for a homeless family there. And the whole idea was that we were there together continuing our loved ones' legacy of service. We were there making sure that their legacy lived on by us being in service to others.

CAMEROTA: Craig, what do you want us to know?

GROSS: Well, I'm in complete agreement with Ryan. Our goal and our focus as gold star families is to support each other, to strengthen each other, and to help our veterans and those who are serving.

For example, you know, I opened a restaurant. I named it after my son. Frank's Patriot (ph) Barbeque in Clear Water, Florida. And our mission is not just serve great food every day. Our mission is to reach out to the veteran community and those who are serving. And, like, for example, this Friday night I'll be serving a free meal at the USO on Tampa. On Thanksgiving Day we'll be serving -- me and my team and other gold star families, we'll be serving the veterans at my restaurant on Thanksgiving Day for free and also on Christmas Day.

That's our focus. We want to stay -- we want to stay positive and we want to -- and we want to just remind people that we're doing this to keep the names of our sons going. There's a saying that the only soldier that really ever dies is the soldier's whose name is forgotten. And we do not want our sons' names forgotten. And we will do everything that we can to keep their legacy going.

CAMEROTA: Craig, your son's name was Frank, and, Ryan, your brother's name was Travis. And we thank you both for your incredibly inspiring messages and for all of the service you do in your community and, of course, for the sacrifice that your family made to our country. Thank you both for being here.

[08:50:13] GROSS: Thank you and God bless.

MANION: Thanks so much.


CUOMO: The security guard who was shot by the Vegas murderer is breaking his silence. You're looking at him right now. you're going to want to hear him describe the moment that he realized he'd been hit, next.


CUOMO: It is time for "CNN Money Now."

The Dow cruising past another milestone, 23,000, for the first time.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans in our Money Center with more.

Boy, I would have lost so much money betting with you about whether or not any of these milestones would have been hit in the last ten months.

[08:55:00] ROMANS: I know. It's been amazing. Ten -- it's been crazy, the Dow crossed that milestone just before closing below it, Chris, 20,000, 21,000, 22,000, now 23,000 all this year, driven mainly by hope for corporate tax reform.

The president yesterday was framing his tax plan as a gift for everyday Americans.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Lower taxes mean bigger paychecks, more jobs and stronger growth. At the heart of our plan is a tax cut for everyday working Americans.


ROMANS: True, but the biggest tax cuts go to the wealthy and to businesses. So the White House is selling corporate tax cuts as a middle class raise, claiming companies will bring overseas cash home boosting pay. A new survey, though, found most companies will still use that money on share back backs.

In fact, most Americans don't think they will benefit from Trump's tax plan. New -- brand-new polling shows the majority believe they will fare about the same or worse after tax reform.

Chris and Alisyn, only one quarter of those polled think they will be better off with this tax plan.


CAMEROTA: All right, that's not optimism. Thank you very much for that, Christine.

So now we are hearing for the first time from the Mandalay Bay security guard who was shot in his right leg by the killer. Listen to what Jesus Campos told Ellen DeGeneres about that moment.


JESUS CAMPOS, SECURITY GUARD SHOT BY LAS VEGAS GUNMAN: As that door is closing, and it's so heavy, it almost slammed, I am walking down this way. And I believe that's what caught the shooter's attention. As I was walking down, I heard rapid fire. And at first I took cover. I felt a burning sensation. I went to go lift my pant leg up and I saw the blood. And that's when I called it in on my radio that shots had been fired.


CAMEROTA: OK, that's an interesting setting, going on "Ellen" to tell your story.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean, look, he's so important on so many different levels. One, his story of survival and of getting involved with something so dangerous. You know, he's a security guard. You know, he's not a SWAT team member.


CUOMO: And for the timeline, it matters also.


CUOMO: And when things happened and what that meant to the overall operation --

CAMEROTA: Because it changed -- the timeline changed a lot.

CUOMO: It is. It's certainly in dispute.


CUOMO: So we'll see where it winds up. He's fundamental on that issue. And we've got to remember, there's still people in the hospital fighting with injuries right now. That situation is not resolved for a lot of people.

CAMEROTA: Twenty people still in the hospital.

CUOMO: All right. So, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman is going to pick up. There's big news right after the break.