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Report: Emails Suggest Toxic Culture At Miss America; Hispanic Caucus Confronts Schumer Over Dreamers; Report: Hundreds Of EPA Employees Leave Under Trump; Police Officer Donates A Kidney To Save A Stranger. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired December 22, 2017 - 15:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You feel it, you say it. Mallory, how do you feel? What's the worst of it for you, directed at you?

MALLORY HAGAN, FORMER MISS AMERICA: You know, I have to echo, Kate, in that no one wants to see the F word and their name in the same sentence in print where someone is talking about your personal life in a way that they couldn't possibly understand your personal life.

So, to me, that's pretty bad. And I feel - I feel bad that this is happening and the woman that are part of the Miss America organization are learning that this is how the organization is really run.

But I'm very hopeful that there are going to be plenty of volunteers and former Miss Americas and former state titleholders to stand up and say, as we've already seen, but we continue to stand up and say this is not how we want to see this organization that we know and love run and we're going to do better.

BALDWIN: It's just disappointing because it looks like this beautiful, shiny, perfect organization and all smiles, and there are clearly cracks. There are cracks.

I need to read this, though. We reached out to all the Miss America officials mentioned in the story and the organization responded with a statement. They say when they learned of these emails, they started an investigation and that "at the timing question, three to four years ago, Mr. Haskell was under unreasonable distress resulting from intense attacks on his family from disgruntled stakeholders. As a result, the board directed the organization to terminate the relationship with the most egregious author of inappropriate comments, a member of the television production staff. In addition, the board has started the process of instituting additional policies and procedures. The Miss America organization takes seriously its reputation and the character and actions of its representatives and apologizes for any concerns or ill feelings this situation has caused. Moreover, the board of directors has and is taking affirmation actions and has implemented specific policies and protocols to directly address this matter and to prevent any issues moving forward."

And we should also say that the employee who was fired told the "The Huffington Post" that he couldn't comment because of pending litigation and a board member implicated in those emails has also resigned. All of that though, Mr. Haskell was under distress and they're apologizing, how does that statement sit with you?

KATE SHINDLE, FORMER MISS AMERICA: Well, it's one of those - I'm sorry if your feelings got hurt things. I don't really hear an apology in there.

But the truth is there is no apology that covers this. They could apologize for the bad words. They could apologize for throwing around language that we all would agree was inappropriate in any environment.

But you can't apologize for creating a toxic culture of abuse in which people are passing around a picture and making fun of a woman's weight. Or conspiring, you know. There is an email in which the board members are conspiring to crush Mallory's business and not allow her to be successful financially.

They changed the rules of the pageant, so that she couldn't help contestants by coaching. And so, you could say you are sorry all you want, but until you take some ownership and maybe take a couple steps back, it's just words.

BALDWIN: Here is what I thought, Mallory, when I read this piece this morning. I was wondering, just with everything happening with women right now, right, all of these voices being lifted, and I know some of this has happened long before this whole #MeToo movement with women speaking up, I'm just wondering in terms of consequences, do you think what you're starting to see chip away at Miss America, perhaps you wouldn't have seen six months ago or even six years ago, what do you think?

HAGAN: I mean, I would like to hope that no matter when this came out, people would react the same way. This type of language is inexcusable no matter what industry you are in.

And I've equated it today to -- I mean, if this was the principal of your child's school and your principal were sending around photos of a student and calling them names or conspiring against them, you would -

BALDWIN: They'd be fired.

HAGAN: - immediately call for that principal to be fired, hands down. No question asked. And so, this situation isn't any different. And whether it was today or six months ago or whether it was six years ago, I would hope that people would understand that this is no way for a man who runs a women's empowerment organization to talk about the women who are a part of it.

BALDWIN: Last question, how do you want young women to view this organization? Positive experience for you?

SHINDLE: It was a positive experience for me. And I actually think it can still be a positive experience for a lot of other people. This board of directors needs to step down.

But there are, as you mentioned, 49 Miss Americas as of this morning and we have names being added by the hour who are calling for a change in leadership. The mayor of Atlantic City, there's now a petition with over a thousand signatures from state and local titleholders from years gone by and volunteers.

We don't have an option. This has to change. And it can still be a great thing. Because I've experienced that and lived that. I know Mallory has too.

[15:35:06] HAGAN: Yes. I think that the thing that I would just add to that is that the women who are part of this organization, they are strong, they're smart, they're independent, they're articulate, they're civic minded, and there is a place for that in our society despite what people may think about the outward appearance of a pageant.

There are thousands of girls every year who benefit from this program and there could be hundreds of thousands more with the right kind of leadership and that's what we hope for.

BALDWIN: Don't mess with former Miss Americas. That's my takeaway from this whole thing, ladies. Kate and Mallory, thank you so much.

SHINDLE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Coming up next here, the short-term spending bill has passed, but it includes no mention of the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in this country. So, we'll talk live to a member of Congress who has just confronted the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for failing to keep that promise.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Look, there is a broad feeling in our caucus that we want to see DACA taken care of before the end of the year. The Republican and Democratic negotiators in the Senate are making good progress. And I think that there is a lot - and 35 Republicans in the House signed a letter saying they want to get this done before the end of the year. So, I think there is good bipartisan support to deal with DACA before the end of the year.



[15:40:37] BALDWIN: Time is running out for nearly 700,000 undocumented young immigrants brought into the United States as children. Apparently, no immigration fix for DREAMERS is coming before the end of this year.

Leading Democrats had promised to push for a solution and attach it to this week's stop gap spending bill, but that didn't happen. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus walking out of the House yesterday and over to the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office to get their message out, of outrage. So, let's talk it over with Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez who led that walk over to Sen. Schumer's office. Congressman, it's a pleasure to have you on.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you, Brooke, for having me on.

BALDWIN: So, you tell me, you set the record straight of what exactly happened in this meeting because reading "The Washington Post" today, they describe the meeting as tense and heated. And at one point, you raised your voice at the senate minority leader, you tell me what happened, sir.

GUTIERREZ: Look, I guess it's surprising to the American public that elected officials, those who they sent to Washington D.C. would speak with passion, with energy, and with commitment towards justice. But that's what happened yesterday.

As you related to it, time is running out. It's already run out, Brooke, for 13,000 Dreamers. They are undocumented. They can be deported at any moment. They can't work legally in the United States. They've gone to school, right? They've gotten an education. And now, they're being sent away from their classrooms where they're teachers or hospital where they are doctors. That's wrong.

And so, when I walk into a room, I want my Democrats to stand up for fairness and for justice. And I want them to do it energetically. And I'm going to demand that we do that as a party. I think that's the responsible thing to do.

And I just want to say, look, Brooke, I'm a dad. I'm a grandfather. I have two daughters. If they were at the same jeopardy that the Dreamers, I'd want somebody to speak up forcefully for them. And I think that's all we did yesterday, is what we say to you on CNN is what we say in the private room.

Democrats stand up for the Dreamers because the Republicans are coming after them and Donald Trump wants to deport them. And we are the vehicle to defend them.

BALDWIN: I appreciate the transparency, congressman. And I hear you on being energetic and raising your voice when you need to.

My question to you is, because it sounds like maybe you did do that, how did Sen. Schumer react when you did that, when you confronted him?

GUTIERREZ: Here's what - look, Brooke, it's a private meeting. And in a private meeting -

BALDWIN: You just said you want to tell me about it.

GUTIERREZ: Well, look, Brooke, here's what I will tell you. I spoke and I said to Leader Schumer, I really think you need to do more, and Democrats, not just him personally, but Democrats in the Senate.

We did it in the House, Brooke, right? All the Democrats got together, we said no to the CR, to the continuing spending bill yesterday, why? Because it didn't include a Dream - we have to do the same thing in the Senate.

Brooke, if you - I've seen this. I've been in Congress 25 years. I've seen this movie before. I believe we need to get the CHIP program reauthorized. I believe we need to make sure that Medicaid and Medicare are there and properly funded.

Look, I believe in those things. And I think we are going to get those things. What I want to make sure is that when the negotiations are ended, we don't say tomorrow to the Dreamers. We have to say today. They are losing - 122 lose their status by the time the 19th of January comes about, when the next spending bill ends, there will be a few more thousand of them. Think about the peril that their lives are living in.

So, I'm just saying - I just said to Sen. Schumer, we need to do more. Can I say something? We shook hands.

BALDWIN: You did?

GUTIERREZ: We shook hands. We took a photo together after the event. I said what I needed to say. He said what he - and here's what I put on Twitter at the end of the day. "Dems are all on the same page. We are marching forward."

BALDWIN: Do you then - last quick question, since you have been in office for many years and you've seen this movie play out before, when they this is all about January, right, bringing a bipartisan DACA bill for a vote in January, do you believe that that will happen?

[15:45:02] GUTIERREZ: Here's what I believe. I believe the Democrats are on the same page. And I believe that while Republicans have paid a huge price because of their xenophobia, because of just their hatred towards immigrants in terms of all of their public policy, I want to tell the immigrant community they have champions and people that are on their side. I want my party to be on their side.

BALDWIN: So, you want a yes, but it sounds like I'm not hearing a yes or a no. So, we still don't totally know.

GUTIERREZ: Brooke, Brooke, am I more optimistic after the meeting than before the meeting? Absolutely.

BALDWIN: Got it.

GUTIERREZ: Do I think that Chuck Schumer and I and Nancy Pelosi are going to work more closely and more strongly together to get it done? Absolutely. Absolutely.

But, Dreamers, keep the fight up.

BALDWIN: OK. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, thank you so much. Happy holidays.

GUTIERREZ: Happy holidays to you, Brooke. BALDWIN: Thank you, sir.

Coming up next, a new report shows employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are leaving under this new administration, under President Trump. What the low morale and shrinking staff means for the important work the agency does?


BALDWIN: A mass exodus at the Environmental Protection Agency since President Trump took office. Reported by "The New York Times" and "ProPublica" say more than 700 people, including 200 scientists, have left the agency. Most of these employees will not be replaced.

But this is something the president warned about back on the campaign trail.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Department of Environmental Protection, we are going to get rid of it in almost every form. We're going to have little tidbits left, but we're going to take a tremendous amount out.


BALDWIN: CNN's justice correspondent Jessica Schneider is with me now. And so, this is only a fraction, I suppose, of their goal to shrink the EPA, but we are talking scientists, you know, leaving en masse. Why? Tell me more.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Brooke, as you heard there from the president, this is all part of that broader goal from the administration to drain the swamp.

It was back in April when EPA officials put out a memo saying that it did plan to streamline its workforce through buyouts and that, of course, was after the president issued an executive order aimed at cutting back at agencies all across the board.

But the report here from "The New York Times", it points out that 700 people have left the EPA since President Trump took office and that number includes more than 200 scientists.

So, the problem is, it appears that these scientists are not actually being replaced. According to the report, of the 129 people hired at the EPA this year, just seven, Brooke, were scientists.

And, of course, it's the scientists that really have the knowledge to best protect the nation's air and water. So, here's what the spokesman at the EPA says. I spoke with him at length today.

He says, we currently here have over 1,600 scientists at the EPA, and less than 200 chose to retire with full benefits. He continued on to say, with only 10 months on the job, administrator Pruitt is unequivocally doing more with less to hold polluters accountable and to protect our environment, referencing there just some actions taken in Texas and finding several Fortune 500 companies.

You know, Brooke, the EPA spokesman, he also tells me - he explains it this way, saying that this is a natural progression. He says that 50 percent of EPA employees are eligible to retire over the next few years, five years, in fact, but it really, Brooke, doesn't look like the EPA will be replacing a lot of them. All of this effort to scale back and, obviously, a lot of concern at the EPA because of it. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Jessica Schneider, thank you.

Just in, CNN confirming why President Trump did not hold a year-end news conference. It turns out the president wanted one. Wanted to answer questions from the press. Who told him no? That's coming up.


[15:57:44] BALDWIN: A San Francisco police officer is credited with saving nine lives all because she donated a kidney. CNN's Stephanie Elam shows us how she went beyond the call of duty.


ANNA CUTHBERTSON, OFFICER, SAN FRANCISCO POLICE DEPARTMENT: I listened to a story about a woman that donated through a website.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): San Francisco police officer and Army veteran Anna Cuthbertson hadn't considered organ donation before.

CUTHBERTSON: It looks like personal ads. People that need different body parts. The more I looked into it, the more I realized that there wasn't a reason not to.

ELAM: Instead, on the website, she found a very compelling reason why she should donate her kidney - Joan.

JOAN GREALIS, KIDNEY RECIPIENT: Oh, Lord, she's been pretty miraculous.

ELAM: Joan Grealis has kidney disease. For five years, she was on a wait-list for a new one.

GREALIS: Someone in my kidney support group had heard about matching donors, so I found it online and I enrolled myself there. To my amazement, within an hour Anna called me.

CUTHBERTSON: Joan is about the age that my mother would have been if she was alive. Joan's got kids that are about my age.

And I just imagined if I'd had my mom back, you know, what would I have done to - you know, how far would I have gone to have kept her?

ELAM: Cuthbertson sees a correlation between her career in uniform and her desire to give. CUTHBERTSON: I think that my time in law enforcement and my time in the military, I spent trying to make a difference to somebody, this was instant gratification for me.

ELAM: During the months of testing, the women forged a bond.

(on camera): Were you at all let down when you found out that she wasn't a match for you?

GREALIS: Yes. I think she and I would have both liked that very much.

ELAM (voice-over): But being part of a kidney-paired donation program, other duos with the same problem were found, so that matches could be made among them. In all, nine people got a new kidney thanks to Anna's generosity.

CUTHBERTSON: You bring a good kidney to the table and suddenly a whole list of people are able to get a donation.

GREALIS: It's magical. It's things of which dreams are made and can bring tears to my eyes.

ELAM: Joan's kidney came from an anonymous man in Southern California, but she considers Anna her donor.

GREALIS: I may not have gotten her kidney, but without her doing what she did, I wouldn't have gotten a kidney either. She has a big heart.


BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts now.