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Sessions on Memory Issues; Gunman Locked Out of School; Rising U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired November 15, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:33:08] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this morning, the attorney general of the United States facing new questions about a conveniently selective memory, after first forgetting to mention a meeting with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 election, and then, so he says, forgetting but now remembering a Russia-related meeting with Trump campaign advisers.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: OK, so what does he blame? He blames the chaos of the campaign for his changing stories. Listen, though, to the reaction of one member of Congress who was questioning him yesterday.


REP. TED LIEU (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: You did have communications with the Russians last year, isn't that right?

Just yes or no.

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I had a meeting with the Russian ambassador, yes.

LIEU: That's exactly the opposite answer you gave under oath to the U.S. Senate. So, again, either you're lying to the U.S. Senate or you're lying to the U.S. House of Representatives.



HARLOW: That was Congressman -- Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu. He joins us now. He's a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Sir, it was an explosive hearing yesterday. Hours and hours of it. You say that Sessions was lying then to you colleagues in the Senate or lying to you guys on the House side. Why is it impossible that he did not remember then and remembered yesterday?

REP. TED LIEU (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Because we're seeing a pattern. Keep in mind, this is not the first false statement he made. The first false statement he made was to the U.S. Senate earlier this year when he said that he had no communications with the Russians, and the free press reported, and, in fact, he had multiple communications with the Russians and he changed his story.

And then just a few weeks ago he told the U.S. Senate that he was not aware of any Trump campaign adviser communicating with the Russians. And yesterday, before the House Judiciary Committee, he said something different, that he was aware George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, in fact, was communicating with the Russians.

So now it's a pattern. It leads me to conclude that he is simply lying.

BERMAN: Let's just play his explanation of how he forgot and then remembered the Papadopoulos meeting. Let's listen.

[09:35:01] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I do now recall that the March 2016 meeting at the Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but have no clear recollection of the details of what he said at that meeting. After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government or any other foreign government for that matter.


SCARBOROUGH: So, again, he says he didn't remember. Can you prove he's lying? And, if so, are you going to move to bring some kind of perjury charge?

LIEU: I couldn't do that, but Special Counsel Mueller could.

Now, keep in mind that you're doing this campaign. There's lots of stuff going on. But Russia is really weird. People don't talk about Russia in a campaign. So for Jeff Sessions to not remember at this interchange about Russia and Russia contacts just is not believable.

And, keep in mind, this is a pattern of not remembering. He also had a third incident where he lied on his security clearance application where he was asked if he had any contacts with a foreign government official. He answered no. Clearly he had contacts with the Russians.

So this is multiple times that Jeff Sessions has conveniently omitted anything related to Russia and then suddenly remembered when confronted with the facts.

HARLOW: Congressman, you issued a series of scathing tweets about the attorney general and about the president before, during and after the congressional testimony yesterday by Attorney General Sessions. You attacked his appearance, mocked his looks, saying he looked like Kate McKinnon, who plays him on "SNL." But you also repeatedly called him a liar.

To prejudge his testimony, I mean your tweets about him being a liar were before he even appeared in front of you. Why is that appropriate? Why prejudge him? LIEU: Because he lied to the U.S. Senate. After he made his

statements, evidence came out later that showed his statements under oath to the U.S. Senate were, in fact, false. And, by the way, I am choosing words that the president of the United States uses on his own Twitter. I'm throwing those words right back at the administration.

HARLOW: I understand that, but does that make it -- OK, but does that make it right? I mean do you like seeing the president use words like that, like lyin Ted, so then you repeat them?

LIEU: I am absolutely highlighting it. And until the president changes, I am going to keep doing it, because I do want to highlight how ridiculous it is, absolutely.

BERMAN: Is it -- is that a grown up thing to do, congressman?

LIEU: So, you remember when Michelle Obama had that beautiful line, right, when we go low, we go high. My view is, when they go low, we fight back. And I'm going to fight back.

BERMAN: Well, when they go low, we stay low?

LIEU: I am fighting back. I am going to use the president's own words against him, against his members of his administration. I'm going to throw it right back at him, absolutely.

HARLOW: Is that what you would --

LIEU: Yes, if he calls people names, I'm, going to call people names because I think it's inappropriate for the president to do that.

HARLOW: Is that -- is that what we would teach our children to do? Is that what we should teach our children to do?

LIEU: I teach my children they should stand up to bullies. The president of the United States is a bully. I am going to stand up to him. Absolutely.

BERMAN: Congressman, give us a sense of where the House -- the House investigation is right now, the House Intelligence Committee investigation right now, into the various Russian matters?

LIEU: It is proceeding forward. If you see some of these recent disclosures about Donald Trump Junior communicating with WikiLeaks, that's very troubling. We had a media report yesterday coming out also saying that Russia had all these payments they were sending to various places to try to influence the elections. So you're seeing a lot of evidence coming out showing that Russia was engaging in this massive campaign to influence U.S. elections last year. We want to find out more about it as these investigations continue.

BERMAN: Congressman Ted Lieu in the middle of it all, literally and figuratively. Thanks so much for being with us, sir.

LIEU: Thank you. BERMAN: All right, a gunman goes on a rampage attacking, among other

things, a California elementary school. But that staff at that school may have saved lives. We'll tell you how.


[09:43:29] HARLOW: A shooting rampage in California leaves four dead, ten injured. But authorities there say it could have been even more deadly. One of the gunman's targets was an elementary school, but fast-acting school staff put that building on lockdown, preventing the shooter from getting in.


PHIL JOHNSTON, TEHAMA COUNTY ASSISTANT SHERIFF: This individual shooter was bent on engaging and killing people at random. I have to say that this incident, as tragic and as bad as it is, could have been so much worse if it wasn't for the quick thinking and staff at our elementary school.


BERMAN: All right, CNN's Dan Simon joins us now from California.

Dan, tell us what happened here.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John and Poppy, this all started with a neighborhood dispute. This shooter targeted a woman he had been feuding with. And from there he gets into a stolen pickup truck and then randomly starts shooting into houses, shooting at random cars.

And from there he ultimately makes his way to that school. And you just heard from the sheriff, the fact that the school immediately went under lockdown, that's ultimately what saved so many lives. In their words, the shooter got frustrated after a period of time and simply left. They suggested that surveillance video confirms that.

But it was quite a scene. The shooter -- the bullets going through windows, going through walls. It is amazing that not many people were hurt. You did have one child who was shot, but is expected to survive.

[09:45:04] Meantime, there was a good Samaritan who was at the school who tried to distract the shooter. I want you to listen to what he had to say. Take a look.


JESSIE SANDERS, CONFRONTED GUNMAN: So I just ran to the school. And then when I get there, the dude was shooting through the windows. And I said, hey, why don't you shoot this way instead, you know? And then when I seen the guy's face, I knew the guy. I knew the guy. And then he started shooting at me.


SIMON: Well, this whole episode lasted about 45 minutes. After the shooter fled the school, he was cornered by sheriff deputies. They took their vehicles, actually rammed him off the road. There was a fierce shoot-out. And, of course, the shooter was shot dead.

John and Poppy.

BERMAN: All right, Dan Simon, again, you know, an awful story, but could have been even worse.

Dan, thanks so much.

This morning, a manhunt underway for a possible serial killer near Tampa, Florida. FBI and local police are searching the Seminole Heights neighborhood after a fourth shooting just 24 hours ago. The latest victim , a 60-year-old man was shot in the back as he was crossing the street yesterday morning.

HARLOW: This is the fourth killing in the last six weeks in the same neighborhood. All of these victims you see were alone at the time they were killed. Police are now urging residents to always walk with someone at night. Tampa's mayor says the Seminole Heights area is being held hostage due to these killings. Police think the killer may live nearby.

In minutes, the Senate is back at work on the tax plan, or is it the health plan? Ahead


[09:50:56] HARLOW: Natural disasters devastated American cities this year. Millions of people were impacted. And among them, pregnant women who are already facing difficulty in getting access to proper health care.

The United States is the only developed country where maternal mortality has been rising for more than 25 years. It now ranks 47th in the world in maternal health.

CNN partnered with the nonprofit Every Mother Counts to share the journey of pregnant women across this country that are grappling with this reality. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The storm made things just that much worse.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than 20 inches of rain have fallen in and around my hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It almost felt like Katrina all over again. You could start to see aunts being pregnant at the time. My maternal like instinct was, if the animals are getting out of here, we probably should be getting out of here, too.

Come on, Chloe. This is so crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The flood changed patients' demeanor. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really afraid how I'm going to do this? What

are my options?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patients' pain. Patients' depression.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the storm happened, I avoided my doctor's appointments.


BERMAN: Christy Turlington Burns is the founder and CEO of Every Mother Counts. She's on a mission to help new mothers around the world after her own complications. Christy joins us now.

And this is personal for you, right? Back in 2003, the birth of your first child, there were complications. We should note, she's fine now. She's 14 years old. But this is something you believe very strongly in.

CHRISTY TURLINGTON BURNS, FOUNDER AND CEO, EVERY MOTHER COUNTS: Yes, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl, but then had a complication that resulted after the -- well, during the third stage of labor, which is the placenta delivery.

But since that time I've learned about millions of girls and women around the world who have similar kinds of complications and yet they don't have access to the kind of care that can save their lives.

HARLOW: The clip we saw is from a four-part film series on CNN Go that is just launching today. And you take us to, you know, New York, Florida, Louisiana. I was stunned to see this happening in America. I mean the fact that maternal mortality is so high in this country. That it has been -- you know, these depressing stats going on for two-plus decades. Why is this happening in this country that is so rich?

BURNS: It's a great question. You know, I've been looking at this issue globally for the last 14 years. And as some of the global figures are improving, they are going the opposite direction here in the United States.


BURNS: And we can look at a lot of factors, chronic health conditions, lack of insurance and coverage for a lot of women. And with those chronic health conditions or with any kind of pregnancy-related complication, that puts them in an especially vulnerable place.

We have an issue here with race and the quality of care that some populations receive versus others. We do know that the numbers are increasing and that for certain populations like the African-American population, women of color, it's extreme.

In New York City, for example, a black woman is far more likely, 12 times more likely, to die than a Caucasian woman. That needs to be addressed.

HARLOW: In 2017, in New York City, where you have some of the best health care in the country.

BURNS: In New York City. Yes.

HARLOW: Every Mother Counts has been up and running now for years, but you need more help and this issue needs more help. What can people at home that are watching, thinking, I didn't know this was going on, how can I help? What can they do?

BURNS: What's really important is that women are healthy before they become pregnant. That they have access to pre-natal care, which is essential in order to recognize complications before they arrive, and then, obviously, a skilled person at your side when you deliver. And then the postpartum care is a big, gaping hole here. Most women, they don't see their provider for six weeks after they deliver. That's oftentimes too late for women. We need to make sure that there's a continuum of care all the way through.

BERMAN: Look, just knowing there's a problem I think is a good place to start.

HARLOW: Thank you for doing what you do, Christy Turlington Burns. Again, Every Mother Counts. Just a reminder, this series, it is fascinating, eye-opening for all of us. "Giving Birth in America" available today on CNN Go. You can learn a lot more about the series on

[09:55:09] We'll be right back.


HARLOW: All right, top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman.

So passing a tax bill is hard. Repealing Obamacare so far has been impossible. So why not do both at once? It's so crazy, it just might work. That's the new hope of Senate Republicans who overnight put out a new version of a tax cut that does repeal a key part of Obamacare.

HARLOW: It also complicates an already complex task of tax reform. It might be too risky for the Republicans. Could they lose this fight as a result?

The president, meantime, is back home from what he is declaring a long but successful trip across Asia. He is planning a trip to Capitol Hill tomorrow to try to sell his tax cuts.

[10:00:05] Let's go to Capitol Hill. Suzanne Malveaux is there, and Christine Romans is here, with the details, the important details on what this means and for whom.

Suzanne, to you first.

What's happening right now?