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Shaun White Takes Gold; Dems Block McConnell; Trump's Moral Authority. Aired 6:30-7:00a ET

Aired February 14, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:31:57] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Shaun White is the man. The snowboarder pulled off a gold medal comeback in the men's halfpipe. He was holding an early lead. Then he slipped to second and everybody was like, oh, no, here we go again. In Sochi, White had finished fourth. But then he turned it around on his last run.

Coy Wire has the "Bleacher Report" live in South Korea, wearing his mom's coat.

I can't sell it the way you can. But I'll tell you, to watch his final run was impressive.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he rose to the occasion, Chris, no doubt about it.

This "Bleacher Report" presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

The longevity of Shaun White's athletic success is certainly impressive. For some perspective, when he won his first Olympic gold in 2006, fellow U.S. snowboarding gold medalist Chloe Kim and Red Gerard were just five years old. He claimed not just gold, but sweet redemption after failing to medal those last Olympic games at Sochi.


WIRE: Snowboarding legend Shaun White reclaiming his Olympic halfpipe title, landing back-to-back 1440s in his final run to take gold, beating out Japan's Ayumu Horano. White securing the United States' 100th gold medal at the Winter Olympics and becoming the first snowboarder in U.S. history to win gold at three different Olympic games.

SHAUN WHITE, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: This meant the world to me. You're doing it for U.S. again. Not only to be an Olympian again, but to be a gold medalist again is just unreal.

WIRE: White refusing to address the sexual harassment suit filed against him from former bandmate Lena Zawaideh, who alleges that White sent her sexually explicit and graphic images. White later admitted to sending some texts, but called the lawsuit bogus.

WHITE You know, honestly, I'm here to talk about the Olympics, not, you know, gossip. I am who I am and I'm -- and I'm proud of who I am and my friends, you know, love me and vouch for me and I think that stands on its own.

WIRE: The pair reached an undisclosed settlement in 2017.

White's big win coming after a major scare. Japan's Yuto Totsuka landing on the edge of the halfpipe on his second run before being taken off the course in a stretcher. Officials say Totsuko only suffered a minor injury to his hip.

In pairs figure skating, China on top after the short program. Married Americans Alexa and Chris Knierim placing a disappointing 14th but moving on to free skate later tonight Eastern Time.

But all eyes were on North Korea's figure skaters, who placed 11th during their Olympic debut, encouraged by the North's cheerleading squad. The Unified Korean ice hockey team, comprised of athletes from both the North and the South, losing to rival Japan, ending their Olympic tournament.

Controversial American speed skater Shani Davis placing 19th in the 1500 meter race. Davis skipped the opening ceremony after voicing his disapproval of not being selected as the flag bearer for the United States.


WIRE: All right, let's get you a medal count this new day. Just in, we now have a two-way tie at the top. Netherlands and Norway with 11. Germany and Canada tied at second with ten. The USA still frozen there at fifth with seven.

[06:35:11] Alisyn, one more update from Pyeongchang. The wicked winds here in the mountains have postponed another event, the women's slalom. An organizing committee spokesperson said that peak wind speeds are over 55 miles per hour.


WIRE: They keep saying, Alisyn, that the weather's going to get better, but it has not as of yet.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And that's why you're wearing such a handsome coat, Coy.

WIRE: My mom's coat.

CAMEROTA: All right. Yes.

CUOMO: There it is. Thank you for tell the truth, my brother. Happy Valentine's Day to you. (INAUDIBLE) first.

CAMEROTA: Back to Washington now.

After two days of finger pointing and posturing, the Senate is expected to finally begin the immigration debate today. Will they reach a deal to protect dreamers? That's next.


[06:40:07] CUOMO: All right. We've been waiting for this big debate that's supposed to begin in the Senate. It's supposed to be the immigration debate today. And I'm qualifying it because we don't really know what's going to happen. For two days, Democrats and Republicans have been arguing about how to start the process. Something they'd only do in Washington, right? And they only have until the end of the week to reach an agreement because of Trump's self-imposed March 5 deadline and there's all this timing involved.

So let's bring back CNN political analysts Karoun Demirjian and David Gregory.

Now, of course, David, the end of this week is not March 5. Even I know that.

CAMEROTA: But isn't it Mitch McConnell who said, like, we're going to give it a week and then we're going to shut down debate.

CUOMO: Right.

CAMEROTA: Wasn't it -- yes.

CUOMO: But -- so what's our problem? Our problem is, one, how good is he going to make on that promise? That's something we haven't seen made manifest. And that promise from jump was always only half the equation, right? I remember -- I think actually you brought that up when we first heard it. You were like, but that's only half of Congress. I was like, it is? And I went to "School House Rock." She was right.

So Paul Ryan didn't make the same promise. So where do things stand, David?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it seems like they're -- they're focusing on a lot of matters that are ultimately poison pills. Legislation where they're not going to get a consensus.

You know, the Democrats too want to hurry up and not prolong this debate, but they'd like to focus on just dealing with a stand-alone bill for the dreamers and then moving on to border security, which Republicans aren't on board with, presumably the president isn't on board with as well.

This breaks down over this idea of how to extend immigration privileges to family members, what opponents of that program called chain migration. So, you know, the action right now, I think, is a bit muddled. I think, you know, there's some breathing room because this judge said that the president has the right to end the DACA program, but it may not end on March 5th.

But there's still urgency to get this done. I think, in the end, it's still got to be a bigger deal. And I think the president has to be able to walk away from this claiming victory over border security in exchange for this pathway to citizenship for dreamers.

CAMEROTA: Karoun, there are a couple of bipartisan proposals bouncing around out there. Is it your sense that any of those could get 60 votes in the Senate?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, not until each party kind of coalesces around what it wants. And I don't think Democrats have quite hit on exactly what is their preferred position, you know, given which ones are likely to come up to the floor.

Look, this whole construct is a little bit artificial in many ways. The fact that you would take something as behemoth and difficult as the immigration debate and say, OK, you've got a week, go, when you haven't even agreed on what language is going to be put on the floor and you don't actually even have the parties kind of locked into their positions about what they're going to actually say and fight for.

And then the March 5th deadline that's, you know, the president set that to try to add some pressure. He's clearly trying to drum up that pressure more on Twitter this week too. But that's kind of false too because of these court decisions that keep pushing that out, at least temporarily. And so you've got the situation where, yes, as David was saying, you've got -- the fundamental push and pull in the middle of the dreamers versus the border security. I think everybody at this point has kind of agreed that you're going to have to marry the two of those in some fashion to get those across the finish line. And all of these bipartisan proposals do address that.

But the way that this is starting, by talking about sanctuary cities, and Democrats say, no, we won't even let you get onto that because it doesn't address dreamers, it's almost disingenuous to say each party is kind of sticking to its opening positions as they inch towards maybe talking about these bipartisan proposals. And that's not the way that immigration reform has been done in the past when it's been successful and --

CUOMO: Well, it's not really reform, right? I mean that's part of the sticking point here, right?

DEMIRJIAN: This is true. Right. Yes.

CUOMO: And I think you make an interesting point. It seems to be the problem is not understanding where each side starts. The Democrats, for instance, David, please, and, Karoun, correct me if it's a wrong assertion. I don't think we've heard the Democrats articulated what their bedrock principle and firm stand will be. Dianne Feinstein said in that meeting that seems like it was a million years ago with Trump and we're all like, wow, what a great beginning of the process of bipartisanship. She said, why not a clean bill on DACA. The president, at the time, you'll remember him -- go check it if you want -- said, yes, I'm good with that and then we'll move on to the other things. Do you remember that, David?

GREGORY: Yes. And Kevin McCarthy, of the leadership team --

CUOMO: Yes, was like -- GREGORY: Said, whoa, whoa, whoa.

CUOMO: Whoa, whoa, whao. Now that's --

GREGORY: Easy tiger.

CUOMO: That's an interesting thing to remember right now.

Since then, where are the Democrats willing to say, no, we're not doing anything if you don't do this? We don't know what that is for them. On the Republican side, their fear seems to be ownership and people remembering that the last time we had this dance, the Dream Act, the Republicans refused with their filibuster margin in the Senate to let the act go through.

So do you think we know where each party is in terms of what they have to have?

DEMIRJIAN: But the little --

GREGORY: Well, I would say more -- most generally it's the -- the Democrats are insisting on the dreamers. The Republicans are going to insist on wall funding plus. I mean I don't think it's even as simple as that. I think it's this issue of chain migration, how family members get in. I think that's where there's going to have to be a negotiation.

[06:45:19] And I think what's false about the debate is that McConnell is saying, look, you know, let's talk about it. We'll take all week and talk about it. They're not really talking about that which they'll ultimately agree on, which is how we know business gets done and is brought to the floor. It's not like people are going to be persuaded by speeches on the floor. This has been an ongoing negotiation for years on some of these tough issues.

CAMEROTA: And, Karoun, I mean, just last, and then you can make your point, there's this second federal judge who has now blocked the president's plan to end the DACA program. The judge has called -- said that the way the president plans to end it is, quote, arbitrary and capricious. So they actually do have a little bit more breathing room. I mean I don't know if Mitch McConnell knows that, but they actually have more breathing room if they -- if that's the sticking point to getting this right.

DEMIRJIAN: Yes. I mean you need to apply some pressure to Congress to get things done, but they definitely have more time than we've been talking about, which is this March 5th deadline, which, again, it's a bit arbitrary, especially because now you have these court decisions that are -- or the stays that the courts are putting on that is going to stretch that out.

That does give people more time to figure out what their positions are. It also gives more time for things to shift. And David's right, the issue in the center of this is going to take the most debate that will lead you to some sort of consensus, if that's possible, is talking about legal migration, not, you know, in the categories of whether it's the visa lottery, or the family reunification or chain migration, depending on which side of the debate you're on. That's going to be a big thing.

But even in the last 24 hours, we've seen shifts, right? Democrats really want to preserve as much of that as they can. Republicans seem opposed, except for then you had the Chamber of Commerce come out last night and basically say, don't get rid of it. You know, so -- so these things are not static. They're changing. And with more time, you might see more political shifting that either lets you reach consensus or makes it more complicated. It depends.

CAMEROTA: OK. We shall stay tuned. Karoun, David, thank you very much.

Imagine seeing this outside of your window midflight. Oh, boy. I don't like seeing that.

CUOMO: No, you do not.

CAMEROTA: No, I don't. This happened during a United Airlines flight. We have the terrifying moments from passengers captured on video and the passengers who say they did not think they'd survive this. So, the full story, next.


[06:50:28] CUOMO: A daring chopper rescue after a climber's deadly fall on Oregon's Mt. Hood. Emergency officials say that man fell 700 to 1,000 feet near the summit. He was pronounced dead after being airlifted to a Portland hospital. A local station reporting a woman with him was seriously hurt but is expected to survive. A second group of stranded climbers also rescued in the same area.

CAMEROTA: OK, there was this midair scare for passengers on board a United Airlines flight. Take a look at this. This is the plane's right engine. The cover blew off right while the plane was flying over the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Hawaii.


CROWD: Brace, brace, brace.


CAMEROTA: OK, I don't like hearing that. Brace, brace, brace. The crew declared they would make an emergency landing when they get to Hawaii. They urged passengers, as you heard, to keep their heads down and brace for impact. One man on board was taking this cell phone video. He seems awfully calm at the moment. He was showing just how shaky the flight was for 40 minutes before (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: I wonder if they saying brace, brace or pray, pray. I mean what else do you do in that kind of moment.

One woman also capturing the flight on her cell phone. Toward the end she's seen mouthing the words, I love you. After the terrifying experience in the air, passengers and crew erupt

into applause. The plane landing safely in Honolulu. This woman couldn't believe she made it out alive.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you could just see everybody's faces. They were scared. And the stewardesses were amazing. They just came around to helped everybody.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: None of the 363 passengers and 10 crew members were hurt. An investigation is underway.

CAMEROTA: OK, this is very helpful. This is a very helpful story for me.

CUOMO: Here we go.

CAMEROTA: Because I have always wondered what would happen if you're over the ocean -- I just took a trans-Atlantic flight yesterday or two days ago. And what happens if you --


CAMEROTA: I guess. (INAUDIBLE). And so what happens if something bad happens over the ocean?

CUOMO: What do you think happens?

CAMEROTA: I think the plane plummets right into the ocean.

CUOMO: Well, look, I mean --

CAMEROTA: But it doesn't, apparently.

CUOMO: Being over water or land doesn't really affect the aerodynamics of what happens.


CUOMO: It's whether you have enough time to get somewhere safe.

CAMEROTA: This is my point. And if you're flying to Hawaii or U.S. --

CUOMO: You have a tough spot.

CAMEROTA: Yes, you do. But I'm happy to know that the plane can fly for another 40 minutes after the engine blows or whatever happened there.

CUOMO: Yes, that is good news. There was another engine. The pilot kept their -- the crew kept their head and they made it safely. But that is one that will stay with them for a long time.


CUOMO: All right, and on the matter of prying for forgiveness, evangelicals have been solidly in President Trump's corner. And this surprises a lot of people of faith. Why do they seem so willing to give Donald Trump a pass on so much, including allegations of sexual assault and defending men accused of it? We're going to talk to the author of a book on Mr. Trump's spiritual journey, next.


[06:55:31] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As long as we open our eyes to God's grace and open our hearts to God's love, then America will forever be the land of the free, the home of the brave, and a light unto all nations.


CUOMO: All right, that was President Trump speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast.

When the president was elected, Evangelical Christians overwhelmingly supported him, despite a lot about what is known about him and his character, notably the "Assess Hollywood" tape controversy. And now the president faces accusations that he sleep with an adult film actress. So what is the standard of approval by that community?

Joining us now is chief political correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network, David Brody. He is the author of the new book, "The Faith of Donald J. Trump: About the President's Spiritual Journey."

I have it in my lap. Let's deconstruct it. What is your premise? How do you cast President Trump as a moral authority and a man of God?

DAVID BRODY, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CBN: Well, first of all, it's not necessarily what we are saying with those words necessarily. We're taking other folks, journalistically, through the book, whether it be a lot of folks, spiritual advisers that have been very close to him throughout the last few years. And we notice he's on a spiritual journey. And there's a lot of stories in the book, Chris, that tell the other side of the story.

So, for example, I mean, to use a television analogy, if you will, look, if there's a 25-second sound bite, OK, we've heard the 11 seconds of Russia and all of the other stuff. This is the other 14 seconds. Or this is the other part of the sound bite that gives you a full picture.

You know, Walter Cronkite actually said, in seeking the truth, you have to get both sides of the story. That's Walter Cronkite saying. This book gives the other side of the story.

CUOMO: What is the other side of the story?

BRODY: There's --

CUOMO: Because, look --


CUOMO: You may say --


CUOMO: It's not what we're trying to do or it's not what it's about. It's subtle. It's context balance. Whatever. At the end of the day, the book is making the suggestion that President Trump is on a spiritual journey. He's a man of faith. What evidence do you see of that?

BRODY: Definitely a spiritual journey. Remember, it's called "The Faith of Donald Trump," it's not called the sainthood of Donald Trump. It's very important. We don't gloss over anything. We go back to the '70s and '80s.

CUOMO: But where is the proof of improvement is what I'm saying?

BRODY: Well, there's a couple of different things. First of all, stories in the book will show a relational aspect that he has with evangelical leaders. Just then by themselves, we can go into other things. But, for example, James Robson (ph) -- and these are, once again, relational stories in the book. But James Robson (ph) and Donald -- James Robson is the televangelist.

CUOMO: Sure. Sure.

BRODY: With Donald Trump. Look, they're in a tarmac in Pensacola, Florida. They're praying in the SUV. They're in the campaign trail. Afterwards, James Robson and Trump get out. Trump hugs him and says, I love you so much. I really love you. These are -- Donald Trump saying I love you is probably breaking news right there. We've heard many times where he said I'm sorry. There are stories in the book about that. All of this like other part that you never hear about Donald Trump.

But beyond that, there are spiritual advisers close to him saying that he seeks them for prayer. And we go through it in the book. And so, you don't hear about any of these stories. We thought it was important to tell.

CUOMO: Right. And the question is how much of it is really a measure of this man, or are you just giving him a really low bar because it seems like the evangelical community prizes beliefs and behavior that this president does not exhibit and, frankly, has never exhibited. So how do you overcome what he says about people, what he expresses in terms of a lack of compassion for people. A man who says he's never had to ask God for forgiveness. I've never heard that from any person of faith in my life. The allegations from the "Access Hollywood" tape. Why does the community give him so much forgiveness? The supposition is because he's right on abortion. At the end of the day, politically, that's all the community cares about.

BRODY: A quick clarification on the forgiveness comment. Everybody goes back to Frank Luntz. A month later I talked to Donald Trump on his golf course in California. I did nine interviews with him. And I asked that same question. He did say, I do ask for forgiveness. He does. I mean you've got to look it up. You can Google it. And, as a matter of fact, we said --

CUOMO: But he also said, no, because I've never needed anything -- I've never needed forgiveness for anything.

BRODY: But he talks about communion, other ways -- anyhow, I don't want to get into that but the -- because he said that's --

CUOMO: Do you believe he goes to church regularly?

BRODY: Well, he does -- well, he goes to church. Let me tell you this --

CUOMO: We certainly don't have the Sunday church cams that we used to have.

BRODY: Well -- well -- well, we have stories -- we have -- we have some -- first of all, please understand that, you know, he can come on and defend himself on his church attendance, but I'm not --

CUOMO: I know, but you're setting yourself up for this by doing the book.


CUOMO: That's why I'm asking you the questions here.

BRODY: Understand, when it comes to evangelicals, though, they're looking at the macro view here. They understand that man is fallible. They understand that man sins. Women sin. All of us sin. So the bottom line here is that they're going to go to the macro view. What does that mean? Life, judges, all of that, and they believe there's morality in the macro view rather than getting caught up in the micro view of the candidate.

[07:00:06] CUOMO: But, at the end of the day, the measure is, not what you say, it's what you do.