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Charles Manson Dead at 83; Trump: 'I Should Have Left UCLA Players in Chinese Jail'. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired November 20, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to your NEW DAY. We do begin with breaking news. Charles Manson is dead. The notorious cult leader and mastermind of a murderous rampage in Los Angeles nearly five decades ago is dead at the age of 83. Manson's young followers killed seven people in the summer of 1969, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate.
[07:00:41] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It was who was killed, it was how they were killed and in what name of evil that it was done that made such a mark on the culture. The grisly murders just really changed the perspective of the nation and gripped the entirely world. Manson is evil, making him one of the most infamous killers in American history.
CNN's Stephanie Elam live in Los Angeles with the breaking details -- Stephanie.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
It's unbelievable to think in those murders Charles Manson did not actually participate, but he managed to get his "family" to participate, the Manson family to participate and to carry out these murders. But for that he was serving nine life sentences until he died this weekend.
VINCENT BUGLIOSI, MANSON TRIAL PROSECUTOR: Manson may be the most famous, notorious mass murderer ever.
ELAM (voice-over): The summer of '69 was marred by gruesome murders that shook the nation. Five people killed at the home of Hollywood star Sharon Tate and another couple murdered the following night. Manson was the mastermind behind the brutal killings, the leader of the clan that carried out the unthinkable. He was convicted of conspiracy and murder in 1971 and infamously went down in history.
CHARLES MANSON, LED CULT OF MASS MURDERERS: I do a lot of things around the world that you guys don't see.
ELAM: Manson was born in Cincinnati in 1934 to a single teenage mother. MANSON: She got out of my life early. I spent the best part of my
life in boys' schools, prisons and reform schools, because I had nobody.
ELAM: After marrying twice and spending half his life in prison, 32- year-old Manson made his way to Berkeley in 1967. He established himself as a guru in the Summer of Love and was quickly sharing a home with 18 women.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get these kids, these children coming into Haight-Ashbury, and here is Charlie Manson saying how much he loves them and he wants to take care of them. He took full advantage.
ELAM: Manson's passion for music translated into an obsession with the Beatles' 1968 song, "Helter Skelter."
BUGLIOSI: For Manson, it meant that the Beatles wanted to have a worldwide revolution, blacks against whites.
ELAM: Aiming to launch the fabricated war, Manson directed his disillusioned clan to kill. On August 9, 1969, four Manson followers invaded the Hollywood Hills home of actress Sharon Tate, where they massacred five people. The 26-year-old starlet was eight and a half months pregnant. The next night the clan brutally murdered Las Angeles couple Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. At both homes they left behind shocking murder scenes.
BUGLIOSI: When those words "Helter Skelter" were found printed in blood at the murder scene, that was tantamount to Manson's fingerprints being found at the murder scene.
ELAM: After evidence in the cases mounted, and a high-profile trial, Manson and four followers were convicted of nine murders and sentenced to death in 1971, which was downgraded to life in prison when California banned the death penalty.
ELAM: And despite that, Manson did try to get out of prison, but he was denied parole 12 times. And if you think about the pain that these family members have had to live with, all of this time, nearly 50 years, the sister of Sharon Tate, who is very adamant she wanted to make sure that Manson and his followers stayed in prison. She actually told "People" magazine that she said a prayer for his soul when she got the call from prison officials, letting her know that Manson had finally passed away -- Alisyn and Chris.
CAMEROTA: All right, Stephanie, thank you very much.
I mean, this was a towering, depraved figure in our childhood. You know, being afraid of Charles Manson and of those kinds of -- it wasn't just sort of your average horrific murder. It was, like, the thrill killing of it that was so haunting. The writing things in blood. I mean, all of the details. I just remember being fairly haunted by that as a child. CUOMO: He succeeded in being what he wanted to be, which was the
personification of evil. And when they got rid of the death penalty for a little while in California, he benefited from that, got the life sentence and was allowed to keep being this figure of evil. And so for the families now, that chapter is finally closed.
CAMEROTA: All right. Moving on to news of the day now. There's a new political firestorm on Twitter. President Trump slamming the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players who were detained for shoplifting in China. The president demanded accolades for helping free the student athletes. All three players then did publicly thank him.
[07:05:11] But in an interview with ESPN, LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of one of the players, cast doubt on President Trump's involvement in freeing his son, LiAngelo.
The president firing back in this tweet, "Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail."
He went on to say, "Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be. Five to 10 years in jail. But not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful."
CUOMO: All right. The tweets didn't stop there. The president going after Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona in an open-mike moment, which the president disputes. He says that Flake called the Republican Party toast if President Trump and Roy Moore are allowed to define it. That is what Flake said.
The president tweeted back: "Senator Jeff Flaky" -- see what he did there with the "y"? -- "who is unelectable in the great state of Arizona, quit race, anemic polls, was caught purposely" -- I don't know how the president can know that but whatever. It's not about the facts here. "Saying bad things about your favorite president. He'll be a no on tax cuts, because his political career anyway is toast."
Joining us now, CNN political analyst David Drucker and Margaret Talev.
Margaret, we have never seen a president of the United States throw their own citizens under the bus, even in this kind of rhetorical hyperbolic fashion of saying, "I should have left those Americans in China." But this is who Trump is. How does it play?
MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I was going to say it's not what you typically think of as presidential behavior. But the president sets presidential behavior, so it is now.
Look, he -- even when President Trump seems like he's just acting completely off-the-cuff, I think he really instinctively understands what he's doing, and he's trying to drive the news cycle and to control the narrative here.
When you look at what is actually going on this week, what he has to keep his eye focused on, trying to get a tax plan forward, trying to deal with this crisis in North Korea, there's a lot of problems in Yemen right now. This is obviously a side show, but it's a side show with a purpose. It's meant to galvanize both the base and to show his critics that he's not afraid to fight them one by one, even if it, you know, causes all this kind of controversy.
On the one hand, it allows a political distraction so he can move forward with an agenda with less coverage. And on the other hand, it shows people who would push back against him, whether it's on the national anthem or whether it's on a provision in the tax plan, that he is willing to take them on one by one on a very high-profile stage.
CAMEROTA: David, how do you see it? The idea of "I should have left Americans to rot in a Chinese prison," what is that?
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, the president equates himself with the country, and he's always been very brand first. And it's kind of ironic, right? Because we haven't seen a president in a while so often talk about reverence for the country's symbols, such as the flag.
And we saw this morning a tweet criticizing Marshawn Lynch for, I guess, not standing during the national anthem for a game played in Mexico City, an NFL game. And so this is something the president continues to drive.
And I think that it is indicative of a president who, in a sense, has never been able to separate himself as a businessman and an entertainer who is always primarily promoting, to great success, his personal brand, with what this, in a sense, 10-month-old job is, which is a temporary gig representing the country.
But Margaret is right. And I think it was indicative in that tweet about Flake when he said, you know, talked about "your favorite president." He is talking to a very defined group of Americans who are very supportive of him. And there is a lot of -- Trump aside in how he goes about this, there is a big argument in American politics. But many people believe that the president is right in this regard.
The country is too split, and it's too polarized to do the sort of governing from the center approach that most presidents in the past have at least paid lip service to. And the only way you're going to be successful is to pay attention to your voters exclusively. And that's how you win.
CUOMO: But look, let's just be honest about what he's doing tactically. OK? It is a distraction. It works. But he's also playing to division. And I think that's the root of the criticism, Margaret. Not about whether or not it's effective. We'll see that get played out in elections. We saw what happened down in Virginia. Is that a one off? Is that an outlier? Or is it a projection of what happens with midterms? If it costs politically, we'll see what his party does with him. But the criticism, the basic one, that you are playing on what divides
America, and that's not what a president is supposed to do, what does kind of purchase does that criticism have ultimately?
[07:10:05] TALEV: Well, ultimately, the test of that, I think you're right, is in both a 2020 election and the midterms, which are going to come much sooner. But it certainly does defy this basic convention, one of the major jobs of being the president is to be a uniter, to be consoler in he chief. That has always, up until now, in sort of the modern 20th Century, beginning of the 21st Century, what Americans have looked to as part of that job. You know, there are things you can fight about and days when you can choose a side, but that day to day, one of the key jobs of the president of the United States is to bring disparate groups together, if not in politics at least in society. Americans.
And he has...
CAMEROTA: Not done that.
TALEV: He's testing that day by day.
CAMEROTA: I mean, let's -- you know, look, we have a couple of examples of this. So what's going on with Jeff Flake, which we'll get to in one second. But first, Congressman Adam Schiff, as you know, has been quite outspoken about the president's tone and about this division. So he -- Schiff tweeted this: "The president would have left American students in a foreign jail because their families didn't lavish sufficient praise on him. How can someone in such a big office be so small?"
DRUCKER: And so it's very unusual that a president would publicly talk about American citizens this way, because of the tradition we have of politicians being not overlords or not royalty. But the president, I think, sort of sees his role as something more encompassing. It's a little bit out of step with -- with where past presidents went. Even past presidents that Americans at the time thought were overstepping their bounds.
But I think, for the president, what this does is, No. 1, galvanizes his base in a cultural sense. Because what the president finds a lot of profit in -- politically is in prosecuting a culture war. And I think this is just another sort of flashpoint in that -- in that effort to sort of say, "There's us. We care about the country. We care about the president. And there's them. And they don't have the kind of respect for it..."
CUOMO: There's no question that in terms of pressing division, that's I guarantee you, his surrogates are out there this morning. They're talking about Marshawn Lynch, the NFL guy. I guarantee you -- I don't want you to change from us. But if you were to look at FOX, I guarantee you that Marshawn Lynch story is all over the place as being a big deal and what the NFL should do. That's what they're going to do. That works in terms of division.
But in terms of political realities, he's got to deal with this Jeff Flake strategy also. Let's play what the senator from Arizona said on this hot mike moment. And we'll get into why the president reacted the way he did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: It's become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump. We are toast. We are absolutely...
MAYOR JOHN GILES, MESA ARIZONA: And I am not throwing smoke at you. But you are the guy that could, just for fun. Think how much fun it would be just to be the foil, you know. And to point out what an idiot this guy is.
GILES: You know, anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: It's a perverse sense of fun. That would be a lot of fun to be in this blood sport of what is tearing America apart.
But the -- the idea, Margaret, of what the party is and why Jeff Flake is against taxes, the president said something very interesting in his last tweet. He said, because Flake's career is done, right, his career is toast, he's going to vote "no" on the tax cuts. And, you know, obviously, he doesn't mean it this way, but he's probably right. Which is if you take the expediency of needing to get elected and having to go along the with B.S. that goes with choosing party over country, yes, you would do votes that actually just speak to the fact that this isn't a middle-class tax cut, so I'm not going for it. I don't care if it hurts me with the president and the party. That's the political reality.
And the irony is the president is supposed to be destroying the swamp. But what he's actually doing is reacting negatively to people trying to do the right thing against just sticking in their own set of the mud of the swamp.
TALEV: Well, certainly, one of the levers that President Trump has over almost every other Republican who's going to have to vote on this legislation now in the coming weeks, is that they have to weigh their own instinctive concerns, ideological concerns about the bill, against the mandate for the reelection campaign, both the primary and the general election.
And for Jeff Flake, for Bob Corker, you know, for some of these lawmakers, that's just not one of their considerations. And so it's much harder to control and manipulate them.
Jeff Flake, you know, has not said that he's going to -- that he's a "no" vote for this legislation. If it seems like President Trump is trying to prompt him there, he may be really trying to do something else, which is signal not to Jeff Flake but to Ron Johnson, to all those other lawmakers who do have to stand for reelection that he will come after them in the same way if they put him in a corner. CAMEROTA: That makes more sense. That makes a lot of sense, that
that -- we only have 10 seconds. But that that's what...
DRUCKER: This is not about policy disagreement. Flake votes with the president more than 90 percent of the time. This is about the future of the party and the values it is going to reflect outside of politics and economics.
CUOMO: It's just an economic reality. They say it's a middle-class tax cut. Just look at all the scores and who it helps the most.
Thank you very much. David, Margaret, thank you.
[07:15:08] So did President Trump take the bait in engaging in a Twitter feud with an outspoken basketball dad? I know we always say that it's the president motivating these things, but the man on your screen, LaVar Ball, ain't just another basketball dad. He might be the Trump of basketball today. And we'll tell you why.
CUOMO: All right. So they're both famous for their feuds and their trash talk. You've got President Trump on one side and LaVar Ball on the other. And now why would these two men ever be in the same circle? Well, you had those UCLA players get jammed up in China, and LaVar Ball has a son in that group.
So the question of why would Trump even get involved in this? Let's discuss with CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers and Ed Martin.
Good to have you, gentlemen. If I don't see you again before the end of the week, the best to you and your families for Thanksgiving. I'm thankful to both you handsome guys.
All right. So Ed, let's start with you.
ED MARTIN, CNN COMMENTATOR: Yes.
[07:20:00 CUOMO: LaVar Ball, this is what he does. He provokes, to build the brand. And yet, the president gets involved. Why?
MARTIN: Well, I'll tell you, LaVar Ball, the thing I love about the guy, is have I ever seen a sort of modern parent who is a better -- in a way, a better dad? He's always on his kid's side. I mean, he's kind of wild, I agree.
I have to say, for me, I've always liked how Trump was about his family, his kids. I mean, maybe people think this or that, but I have to say when I read that tweet, he's also -- I think Trump if being the father in chief. I mean, he's whacking back at LaVar Ball, who was I think sort of out of line. And I don't take it very seriously. I think it's more fun and funny.
LaVar Ball has taken on Michael Jordan one on one. I don't think he means to be too serious. So I think it was kind of a lighter thing than not. That's my read on it. CUOMO: But one is a provocateur trying to make money and build a
brand. That's LaVar Ball.
Bakari, the other is the president of the United States, who in the exchange winds up basically saying, "I should have left these Americans in China."
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think both are provocateurs that are trying to build a brand. One just happens to be president of the United States.
So LaVar Ball, I mean, he has three amazing kids, Lonzo, LaMelo and LiAngelo. And LiAngelo's the one we're talking about now. And a brand, Big Baller brand. And it looks as if Donald Trump fell right into LaVar Ball's track.
We usually talk about this being the inverse, because now we're on national TV talking about LaVar Ball and his brand.
But I will tell you this, that this -- Donald Trump needs a foil. He needs someone on the other side. He needs that opponent. That seems to be the only way that he can operate. Usually it's Hillary Clinton or the media.
But he also has this thing where he likes to press upon the divisions of our country and weigh deeply into these culture wars which he thinks that he's winning. And so when you have those instances like a Jemele Hill, or like a Steph Curry, or Fredricka Wilson or now a LaVar Ball, there is a common thread in all of those things. And it preys on the darkest, ugliest part of our country's history.
CUOMO: Ed, is the president targeting people of color when he picks his fights?
MARTIN: No. Look, I mean, Jeff Flake caught it later on in the day. I mean, I think anybody -- I agree that -- Bakari is right on Trump likes a foil. And also, I think he's right that he took this and he's elevating LaVar Ball and his brand and all. And I just think it is a little bit more fun.
I will say one thing. Trump has a record now of getting some of our American young people out of, especially Asia where they're in trouble. It was a sad story where the kid from Ohio came home and passed away here, but at least we got it home.
I think Trump takes some pride in that. But I think this is more -- no one takes LaVar Ball, who's taken on on Michael Jordan, no one takes him quite as seriously as, say, the Jeff Flake debate. So I don't -- I don't see it as a racial thing. I think it's more of a fun thing and a kind of typical Trump.
And as you say, we're talking on national TV about -- about this family. And that's not a bad thing. I mean, I think it's a good thing.
CUOMO: So Ed, if Barack Obama had gotten into a spat with somebody, and he said, "You know what? Maybe I'll just leave your kid in Iran, if that's how you feel," would you have said it was playful or would you have gone on a serious harangue about demeaning the presidency and forgetting what he's supposed to be about?
MARTIN: I don't think I was ever on the TV at the time. But when the president sided with the -- the guy in Harvard instead of the law enforcement officer and then it became the beer summit, I didn't go on and go historical. I thought the president -- you know, I think the president -- I listened to the program, Chris. And I don't think that our presidents in our culture are quite as quite as uniting. I think they have angles they come at. Obama did, Clinton did, Bush did.
I just don't think it's a racial thing here.
But I take your point. I think some people look at it and say, "Oh, my gosh, here comes the president." But a few hours later Jeff Flake is in the -- in the Twitter, you know -- you know, focus. And I think he's not an African-American. He's a, you know, Mormon from Arizona. So a lot of people get into it with Trump. And I think that ends up good and bad for both of them sometimes.
CUOMO: All right. Last word. Bakari, we're almost out of time. The idea is, from Ed Martin, it's not about race. It's about what the president does. This is his tactic. And all presidents have not been just uniters. They have their own angles. This president is no different.
SELLERS: Well, no. This president is vastly different. And whether or not it's someone like a Nikki Haley or a John Kasich or a Jeff Flake or whether somebody like Eric Garcetti or whomever that comes next in 2020, they're going to have to do a great deal of repairing the dignity of this office. Because what happened yesterday is below this office.
And we can have another discussion about whether or not it involves race or not. But I can just tell you that we can just look at the president's track record. And his grades and scores on race are not the highest that we've ever seen.
CUOMO: The good thing is this. We don't have to deal with two boxes and a moderator. Eventually, there will be an election and there will be an accounting, and we will see what the people accept and what they reject.
Gentlemen, again, thank you.
MARTIN: Good point.
MARTIN: Thanks, Chris.
SELLERS: Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.
CAMEROTA: You, too.
Who doesn't love an implosion? The Georgia Dome has hosted the Olympics and Super Bowls. Now it is about to come crumbling down.
[07:25:06] We have the implosion live for you. You don't want to miss it. Don't go to work. Stay and watch this.
CAMEROTA: OK. We do have some breaking news for you now. This is the only facility to have ever hosted an Olympics, a Super Bowl, and a Final Four. Twenty-five years of sports history at this building. The Georgia Dome, it is moments away from being imploded. You're going to see a huge implosion live on TV.
And I think, Chris, that the reason that this is being imploded is because the new stadium, in a sense, has opened.
CUOMO: It is. It is. While I respect your broadcast acumen of hyping...
Jamal Hill And enthusiasm.
CUOMO: ... the implosion, why are we so happy? Yes, you want to see bigger and better and, you know, change is growth and all that. But it's sad isn't it...
CUOMO: ... that a place that hosted so many beautiful things...
CUOMO: ... so many memories, and we're going to just blow it up.
CAMEROTA: Yes. No, don't get me wrong. I, too, am nostalgic. I just like...
CUOMO: I don't hear the nostalgia.
CAMEROTA: No, because I just am excited about things blowing up.
CUOMO: Yes, that's what I'm saying, is that you'd rather that part of it. So we have Coy Wire there. We're trying to get him as close to the thunder of the Georgia Dome as possible. Coy, how is it down there?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: Well, I'll tell you, it's a beautiful morning. As you can see the sunrise behind the dome there.