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Trump Unleashes Tweet Barrage on NFL, UCLA Players; Tom Carper: Gary Cohn Fakes Bad Connection During Trump Call; New Details in Rand Paul Attack; Uber Accused of Cyberattack Coverup; David Cassidy Dies at 67. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired November 22, 2017 - 11:30   ET



[11:33:21] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Before the sun came up, the gauntlet came down. President Trump unleashing a barrage of tweets on a wide variety of topics. His ongoing feuds made for some more colorful assaults. He ripped the NFL, saying the players' protests during the national anthem are, quote, "killing your league." And he hammered the father of that UCLA basketball player who refuses to thank the president for securing his son's release from that Chinese detention center. He compared the trash-talking dad to a flamboyant fight promoter, saying LaVar Ball is a, quote, "poor man's Don King." In a follow-up tweet, he then called him "an ungrateful fool."

Let's start there. Doug Hye is a former communications director for the RNC. Jake Maccoby is a Democratic strategist and former adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign. And Ying Ma, a contributor to "The Washington Examiner" and former deputy director of the Committee for American Sovereignty, a super PAC formed for the Trump presidential campaign.

So welcome to all of you.

Ying, if I may just begin with you. Hearing the quote from the president of the United States, "an ungrateful fool," is that helpful?

YING MA, CONTRIBUTOR, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER & FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE FOR AMERICAN SOVEREIGNTY: Well, I think it's high comedy. It's great theater. I think people are sort of always reacting in such odd ways to Donald Trump talking the way that Donald Trump talks. He's different from other presidents.

BALDWIN: But why do we want theater from the president?

MA: Because this is how the president -- this particular president is. This is the person that the American people elected. And the father of that basketball player is ungrateful. I happen to know a little bit about China. I happen to know a little bit about their criminal system. And in fact, it does require the help of somebody like President Trump to extract his son out of prison and President Trump, this is not the first time he's done this for an American. He also extracted a charity worker, who was jailed in Egypt for three years out of prison, in part, because of his relationship with President Sisi there. So I think it doesn't hurt to actually express some gratitude toward president in this instance.

[11:35:23] BALDWIN: Not necessarily disagreeing with you.

But I had a reporter here on set, and, Jake, to you, basically saying, these tweets from the president, these are his attempts of bright, shiny objects to keep people away from the news he made, essentially endorsing Roy Moore, this accused child molester in the Senate campaign in Alabama. You listened to Ying, how do you see it?

JAKE MACCOBY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST & FORMER ADVISER TO HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: It certainly could be about deflecting from yesterday's comments. That was absolutely an ugly moment. It is -- I think one of the really troubling parts about it, in addition to just the fact of standing up and supporting an alleged child molester is the fact that now you're going to have children who have been victims of assault, who have been victims of molestation seeing the president of the United States essentially say what their attacker usually says, which is, if you speak out, no one will believe you. We will believe your attacker. And that is a deeply problematic thing to say. And deeply harmful to millions of people around the country.

BALDWIN: And the tweets, Doug Hye, should he be talking about tax reform, you know, the news with Lisa Murkowski, saying that she would support the bill's repeal of the Obamacare mandate? I mean, that is a step in the right direction for Republicans.

DOUG HYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It sure is. I think what we're hearing is American getting stupider, one click at a time. Every time the president tweets something like this, frankly, every time LaVar Ball tweets back, these are both what we've been told time and time again that Donald Trump's a counterpuncher. So is LaVar Ball. And this is where America is probably tired of winning on this. We would like to move on to other topics. And here's why, strategically, it's important for the president. One, it distracts from t things he doesn't want to talk about, whether it's Roy Moore or Jared Kushner, and hadn't been as much of a topic this week as we're talking about other things. But takes your eye off the ball of tax reform. If you want to do something with this government and have accomplishments that this administration can rack up and tout, tax reform needs the president fully behind it. And as long as we're talking about these circus issues, we're not focusing on the things that we need to. That's unfortunate for the president and his legacy.

BALDWIN: Let me turn the page and the conversation, Doug. It's Brooke. I know we have the same last name. We just heard some sound from this Democratic Senator, Tom Carper, on CNN last hour. He was talking to my colleagues John and Poppy. He claimed that the White House director of National Economic Council, Gary Cohn, essentially faked a bad connection with the president to get him off the phone during a meeting on tax reform. So here's the Senator's story.


SEN. TOM CARPER, (D): Gary Cohn takes a call on his cell phone, comes back into the room and says, we have somebody calling in from Asia, and it was the president, which is nice, nice of him to do that. And 15 minutes later, the president is still talking. And I said to Gary -- it was a room where we're all sitting around this big table, and I said, Gary, why don't you just take the phone from -- your cell phone back and just say, Mr. President, you're brilliant! But we're losing contact and I think we're going to lose you now, so good-bye. And that's what he did, and he hung up. And we went back to having the kind of conversation where we need to, where they ask good questions, looking for consensus and common ground and I think we've identified a little bit.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Are you saying that Gary Cohn faked a bad connection to get the president off the phone?

CARPER: I'm sorry? Say again?

BERMAN: Are you saying Gary Cohn faked a bad connection to get the president off the phone?

CARPER: Well, I wouldn't -- I don't want to throw him under the bus, but, yes.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I think you just did.

BERMAN: That's the bus. I think the bus just --


HARLOW: The bus is passed.

CARPER: They want to make sure they have the kind of conversation. And that's what we need to do. There's areas where we can agree on stuff, but ask the right questions and be a good listener.


BALDWIN: Ying, to you. You know --


MA: I actually thought that was quite comical, too. My first question was, was the Senator faking a fake connection so that he could delay answering the questions from your colleagues earlier this morning. I think what the president is doing and what his team is doing is that they are focusing on tax reform, they've got big issues, and the president likes to talk. Everybody knows that.

BALDWIN: But Ying, but Ying, here's what the other camp would say. You know the reports of his own secretary of state were calling him a moron and now you have this Senator, and a dear friend and, you know, in Gary Cohn, working on tax reform --


MA: But it's an important issue --


BALDWIN: Faking a bad connection!


BALDWIN: Why doesn't the president have better control over the people who are so, so key in his administration?

[11:40:08] YING: Well, we don't know that. Actually, that is not true. I think that, in fact, he just came back from a very effective trip in Asia. We've got a lot of things done over there. Different people manage their staff differently. So do I prefer a Barack Obama who kind of lectures everybody and tries to prove that he's smarter than everyone else? I'm not so sure that's the preferred way to go.

But actually, let me also comment on something. I think it's quite rich for Jake to sit there and talk about Donald Trump's comments. I mean, where were you when Hillary Clinton threatened Juanita Broderick, someone who accused Bill Clinton of rape.

BALDWIN: Oh, boy! OK.

MA: I think we actually do need to take another look at the context of all of this that's going on.

BALDWIN: OK, OK, we've gone there. We've covered those accusations extensively. Let's stay on -- we're talking about the president and we're going to stay on the president.

We'll say good-bye for now.

Ying and Jake and Doug, thank you all very much for that.

This morning, we are hearing more about that bizarre attack on Kentucky Senator Rand Paul that left him with six broken ribs and left a lot of people wondering what happened in his yard earlier this month. The Paul's neighbor has pleaded not guilty to assault.

New details are coming in from the Senator's wife, Kelley. In a column she penned for, she writes that her husband hasn't taken a single breath without pain since the attack and some nights he has had so much trouble breathing that she has been terrified and was at the ready to call 911.

She also wanted to clarify what she says is misinformation about the attack. She writes that she hasn't spoken to the neighbor in 10 years and have barely seen him. As to reports that they had a feud over lawn care, she writes, "The only dispute was in the attacker's troubled mind." Quote, "This was not a scuffle, a fight, or altercation, as many in the media falsely describe it. It was a deliberate blindside attack. This has been a terrible experience, made worse by the media's gleeful attempts to blame Rand for it, ridiculing him for everything from mowing his own lawn to composting."

So that's part of Kelley Paul's defense of her husband and what exactly went down. You can read the whole piece. Go to By the way, the lawyer for the neighbor says his client regrets the incident and would have handled things more diplomatically if he could have the moment back.

Still ahead here on CNN, Uber is catching heat this morning after waiting a year to reveal a major data breach. And now new questions over whether the company paid the hackers a whole lot of money to keep quiet.


[11:47:02] BALDWIN: An alarming cover-up here. Uber admits it paid hackers $100,000 to delete stolen information and keep quiet about it. Hackers stole the personal data of more than 57 million people and Uber executives took deliberate steps to conceal the cyberattack for more than a year.

Samuel Burke is live on this, which is kind of frightening.

What kind of information are we talking about?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, this is unlike any other hack that I have ever covered. If you lack at it on the surface, if we put up a list of what was taken, you might think it was like some of the other hacks that we've had here on CNN that we've reported on, names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, 600,000 driver's licenses stolen, that's a bit different.

But this is completely different from any of the other hacks for two reasons. Number one, Uber did not disclose as soon as they found out about this hack. They're supposed to do with that with pretty much every state in the United States, and to different countries. Already, the U.K. regulators have said they are supposed to know. And number two, and perhaps even more worrisome, is the fact that Uber actually told me they paid the two hackers $100,000. You're not supposed to pay the criminals. That only gives them a reason to do it again to more people, to the same company, possibly.

This all happened under the old CEO. But the new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, put out a statement saying, quote, "None of this should have happened. And I will not make excuses for it. While I can't erase the past, I can commit on the behalf of ever Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes."

Those mistakes, Brooke, might turn into big legal headaches for this company, which is already facing a ton of black eyes.

BALDWIN: Yes. You're not supposed to pay criminals. Smartest thing I've heard all day.

Samuel Burke, thanks so much.

Quick break. We're back after this.



[11:53:15] BALDWIN: For so many girls, maybe some boys, too, who grew up in the 1970s, David Cassidy was their crush, their love, the guy on the record player and their tv, on their wall and in their hearts. The news of his death on Tuesday of organ failure brought back a flood of memories about his life and career.

Here is CNN's Stephanie Elam.



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORESPONDENT (voice-over): David Cassidy was the ultimate teenage idol. Known for his role as Keith in the hit tv series "The Partridge Family," Cassidy's fresh face, wide-eyed charm captured the hearts of millions of girls worldwide.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: You're taking auto shop?



ELAM: "The Partridge Family, a musical sitcom about a family and a rock 'n' roll band, gave Cassidy a national audience for his own music.


ELAM: "I Think I Love You," the show's first single, topped the Billboard 100 in 1970 and sold over five million copies.

DAVID CASSIDY, SINGER & ACTOR: I was always a musician. I always played but I never pursued my career as a musician. It was just fate, the way the stars aligned themselves.

ELAM: Cassidy's wispy voice and wholesome persona broke out from the small screen and into sold out arenas around the globe.


ELAM: His fan club at one time reportedly had had more members than Elvis or the Beatles.

But in 1972, at the height of his "Partridge Family fame," Cassidy began to shift away from his squeaky-clean image. He appeared naked on the cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine and, in the article, admitted using drugs and alcohol. It marked a turning point in his career and his life.

Four years after "The Partridge Family" hit the air, his teenage fan base had moved on. And so had Cassidy.

CASSIDY: The hero worship was so great, I had to leave it. I couldn't sustain it any longer.

(SINGING) [11:55:06] ELAM: Stardom long behind him, Cassidy turned to Broadway. In 1993, he starred in the British musical "Blood Brothers." Three years later, he moved to Vegas where he headlined the MGM Grand's EFX show, at the time, the largest theatrical production in the world.

In private though, Cassidy struggled with alcoholism, a battle that would soon take a very public turn. In his 60s, Cassidy faced multiple charges of driving under the influence and went through the rehab.

CASSIDY: It's very humbling and it's also humiliating.

ELAM: But his biggest battle was yet to come. In 2017 it, Cassidy revealed that he suffered from dementia. His mother had died of complications from Alzheimer's disease only a few years before.

CASSIDY: To watch someone that raised you and was so vibrant start to lose their mind and disappear is arguably the most painful thing I've ever experienced.

ELAM: Looking back on his own life, there is one memory Cassidy hopes will never fade, his 1972 concert in Madison Square Garden.


ELAM: Cassidy leaped onto the stage in his signature white sequined jumpsuit. Thousands of adoring fans screamed his name, his own family among them.

CASSIDY: It was just so emotional for me. And I just felt so blessed to have that moment with them. I mean, it's the highlight of my life.


BALDWIN: And just to update you here, a couple minutes ago, we brought you the sound from Senator Tom Carper, Democrat, Delaware, on CNN talking about a meeting that Democratic Senators had with the president's economic adviser, Gary Cohn, which included a phone call from the president. So the White House is now disputing Senator Carper's account that the call ended because he faked a bad connection. Instead, a White House spokesman just sent us a statement. Let me read it right now. "Senator Carper's claim is completely false. Gary Cohn left the room and continued to speak with the president privately for several minutes before they concluded that call." So there you have it. The side from the White House.

We'll be right back.