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Second Amendment Debate; Judge Warns to Speed it Up; Trump Slams Amazon; Benefits of Soy; Midterm Advantage Narrows; Jackson Nomination for VA. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 29, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] TIM SCHMIDT, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. CONCEALED CARRY ASSOCIATION: World history. I mean gun control starts and eventually it turns into gun confiscation. Now, I'm not saying that that's going to happen in the United States, but it's a possibility and it makes people nervous. So while --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Right. I think the second part, Tim, is what seizes on me. Like, if you had to list, you know, hey, here's what we want to worry about, here are the kind of laws we're concerned about, you know, that would be very low on your list as a possibility, right? Because, one, we have the political impractical nature of it, all right. There's a reason that the Constitution has been changed so few times. You know, last time we did it, it was really about prohibition, right? You need two-thirds of both houses of Congress. You need to have 38 of the state's legislatures sitting there (ph). It's just not going to happen.

But if you bring it up, it does scare people. It makes them nervous. And when you're scared and nervous, you're less willing to reach across to the other side. Fair concern?

SCHMIDT: Exactly correct. And you're less willing to talk about what's really going to make a change, and what's really going to make an effect.

CUOMO: Right.

SCHMIDT: And, unfortunately, so many of the laws that are getting proposed, you know, increasing gun control, changing the age at which you can buy a gun, I mean these are all feel good laws that are completely delusional. They're going to very, very little. I mean what we have here in this country, we have a problem with society. We have a societal problem and we have to address that. We can't think that by just passing more laws it's going to all of a sudden make criminals follow the laws that we currently have.

So we've got a long way to go with this issue. And -- but I think you're right, you know, being overly scared with op-eds about repealing the Second Amendment does not help at all.

CUOMO: Yes, it just keeps people (INAUDIBLE). All I was dealing with yesterday, you know, once the president echoed it, they're like, oh, see, there it is. Schumer came out and said, this is not what we want. You even had one of the Parkland kids come forward and say, this is not what we want.

And that's been another device. I've got to tell you, I was surprised and saddened that people go after these kids. They're just kids who survived a mass shooting. They have strong feelings. You can disagree with them. They can be wrong in terms of what they want. But I've never seen people demonize kids like this that just lived through this.

Do you endorse what they've been doing to these kids?

SCHMIDT: No, of course not. I feel like these kids have been used as pawns on really both sides. I mean -- I mean, you're right, they're young kids. Some of them 13, 14, 15 years old. And of course they're going to have, you know, something to say because they just, you know, survived an unbelievably traumatic event. But to shove them in front of a camera, to put them on TV, I think -- I think that's a disservice to the kids and their families and --

CUOMO: Well, look, if they want to be there -- you know, you and I divide on that. If they want to be there, they're earned the right the hard way to be there. A lot of them are voting age. They want to vote on this. They need to, because, let's be honest, politicians on this issue, they are not acting out of conscious, they're acting out of consequence.

The NRA has money, but it's barely a top ten lobbying firm in terms of dollars. It's votes that they get out there. People vote on this issue when they're gun advocates. And if people want different law, they're going to have to vote on that intention. And until they do, we'll have status quo.

So let's make a quick shift. It's just our first conversation. We'll have plenty, I hope. But in terms of what's on the table that you're OK and not OK with.

So, we have societal issues. We'll have to see how we deal with those. Hardening targets of schools, that's on the table. Fair point.

But to have it on there to the exclusion of a discussion about access, meaning who gets weapons and under what circumstances, 90 plus percent of this country, left and right, it's an unheard of number, say we need to have better controls on who gets weapons.

Do you agree?

SCHMIDT: So in a perfect world, if we could actually make laws that would have an effect on criminals getting or not getting weapons, sure, that would make a lot of sense. But the thing -- the fact of the matter is that you can pass as many laws as you want, you can say that you can't get a gun until you're 25, 35, or 50, it's not going to have any of effect on psychopaths, on criminals getting guns. There's 300 million guns in the United States. Look at -- look at --

CUOMO: If you want to get a gun illegally, you can. It's not that easy.


CUOMO: It's not as easy as people think. I've actually done it before journalistically to see how easy -- you've got to know certain kinds of people. But let's assume you can.

Our problem is, these mass shooters, I'm not talking about overall gun violence and what we see in urban settings and in impoverished settings. That's a bigger problem. It's more complex. These guys almost always get their guns legally. And that is something that you can control. Red flag laws would make a difference. Waiting periods might make a difference. Universal background checks might make a difference because people find easier routes of access when they can. But we can't even get universal background checks done. And I don't understand that. Why?

SCHMIDT: Well, part of the problem is that the federal government is -- has a challenge with getting really anything done effectively. I mean, look, we've got so many institutions --

CUOMO: But you guys resist it, Tim, on your side of the ball. You say, leave the gun shows out of it.

SCHMIDT: So -- OK, so here's why this is important. Because, sure, I mean you can attempt to pass all of these laws that are going to make it more, quote/unquote, potentially more difficult to get the gun. But in the same effect what you're doing is you're making it more difficult for good guys to get the guns as well. And guns are used roughly 10 to 12 times more often every year to stop crimes, to stop murders, to stop rapes than they are to -- for mass killings.

[08:35:13] CUOMO: Right, but a lot of that statistic goes to guns in the hands of police. But I take your point. This is just an initial conversation. It was a good one. It's good to have you on here. You guys have to be part of this conversation. And you will be going forward.

Tim, I look forward to seeing you again soon. Once we get some more meat on the bones of where lawmakers are in terms of what they'll even consider.

SCHMIDT: Sounds good. Thank you very much.

CUOMO: Thank you, sir. Have a great Easter.


SCHMIDT: Take care.

ALISYN CAMEROTA: OK, a stern warning from the judge in the AT&T/Time Warner merger. What does he want both sides to do? That's next.


CAMEROTA: So the judge in the AT&T/Time Warner trial is warning lawyers on both sides to speed it up. What does this mean for the high stakes merger involving CNN's parent company? Let's discuss with Brian Stelter, CNN's senior media correspondent and

host of "Reliable Sources," and Hadas Gold, CNN Politics media and business reporter.

[08:40:01] Hadas, you're in the courtroom every day. Why does the judge want this to happen with more alacrity?

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, Alisyn, it's all about the time line. So let's take a look at how this has all worked out.

The deal was first announced a few years ago in October of 2016. Then the Justice Department decided to sue in November of 2017. The trial starts in March 2018. But there's where the key is, there's a merger deadline on June 21st of 2018. And the judge yesterday in court warned that if this trial goes into May, he doesn't think he'll be able to issue an opinion before that merger deadline. He said because this is such an important case, it's going to be more than 200 pages. He said with the level of accuracy and detail that he needs, the lawyers on both sides need to speed this up.

We are going incredibly slowly in this case. We're seeing maybe two witnesses a day. There's a lot of back and forth. There's a lot of cross-examination and of redirect. And it's just -- it's not going to get done this time.

If he's warning about getting into May, that only leaves us about four weeks left, and we've barely gotten through I think three witnesses from the Justice Department and then we still need to get to AT&T's side.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. So it's your impression, before I get to Brian, that it is -- he -- we're not going to meet the deadline? That they are not going to meet the deadline?

GOLD: I mean unless things really start speeding up, we have heard that both sides are calling somewhere even possibly 30 witnesses each. So they -- the judge told both sides to sit down this weekend and really go through your witness list and make sure that you have witnesses you need and not witnesses you want and that his tolerance for redundancy is going lower day by day.

CAMEROTA: Then what, Brian, if it misses the deadline?

STELTER: So this is where it gets even more interesting. It's possible that either AT&T or Time Warner could walk away and say, we don't want to do this deal anymore. That would essentially give the Justice Department what it wants, which is to not see this merger go through.

There's been some speculation on Wall Street recently that maybe Time Warner could go out and get a better offer elsewhere or maybe the company could be sold off in pieces, meaning almost like a high-stakes auction for outsets like HBO and CNN and Warner Brothers. This is all speculation though. AT&T and Time Warner could very well say, we're going to extend the deadline again. We're going to go ahead and stay together even longer and try to see this through. I do think this speaks to what it mean for the business climate when you try to do a deal in October 2016, almost two years later it's now in court, and you can foresee a situation where there's opportunity costs here where when these kinds of things drag out, it hurts businesses and actually hurts the marketplace. That would be the concern on the AT&T side.

However, for the government, this is how the government views -- it believes this should work, that it should take -- we should pump the brakes here. That's what the DOJ is arguing, pump the brakes on this media merger consolidation landscape, show things down. And, of course, that affects other companies in other sectors as well.

CAMEROTA: In our last 30 seconds, Brian, tell us about the -- the president just tweeted about Amazon. Obviously he seems to have some sort of personal issue with Jeff Bezos --


CAMEROTA: Who owns "The Washington Post" as well. So, what's the beef?

STELTER: It's -- this is an ongoing dispute between the president and Amazon. But now he's actually speaking out about it. Maybe this is something we're going to see the Justice Department look into. This will be the same anti-trust division that's looking at AT&T and Time Warner right now.

It is remarkable that a Republican president is so focused on trying to have a hand in the marketplace. This is what we would expect from a Democratic president. It's yet another reminder that President Trump is a unique kind of creature of Washington. Not playing by typical Republican rules.

CAMEROTA: Brian Stelter, Hadas Gold, thank you very much for the update on both of these.


CUOMO: All right, a new CNN poll could be cause for concern among Democrats in the midterm elections. We're going to show you the numbers and give you "The Bottom Line," next.

CAMEROTA: But first, cutting back on meat and turning to soy. CNN's Jacqueline Howard reports on the latest science and what it says about soy's health claims.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH WRITER: Are soy foods really good for you? It depends on the benefits you're looking for and how the foods are prepared.

Soy is naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber and healthy fats. Recently, the FDA proposed revoking a claim that soy can reduce your risk for heart disease, citing inconsistent findings. Health experts say eating soy instead of red meat may lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol to a small extent.

As for breast health, soy products contain plant estrogens and some studies show those chemicals could stimulate cancer cell growth. But one recent study shows soy may actually decrease breast cancer risk.

Overall, soy is a good source of plant based protein, but experts warn processed soy doesn't offer the same health benefits of natural soy foods. So stick to natural sources such as edamame, soy nuts or tempe (ph).



[08:49:03] CAMEROTA: A new CNN poll shows the Democratic advantage narrowing for the 2018 midterm elections. What's fueling the shift? Let's get to "The Bottom Line" with CNN political director David Chalian.

David, what are you seeing in the polls?


Yes, this is our brand new CNN poll conducted by SSRS looking at the midterm elections and that generic congressional ballot. Take a look at these results. You see that the Democrats still hold an advantage, 50 percent to 44 percent. That's a 6 point advantage and a good one, but much down, much narrowed from the 16 percent advantage we saw last month.

On enthusiasm, though, Democrats still hold a very big advantage. These are people that say they are very, somewhat, very likely and enthusiastic to vote in November, 51 percent Democrat, 36 percent Republican. And, in fact, if you look at the post enthusiastic voters, the Democrats have a big midterm advantage.

Of course the overall congressional approval is not good, folks. You know this. Eighteen percent --

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CHALIAN: Is where Congress sits right now. I mean it doesn't get much lower than that. As John McCain says, you're down to, you know, blood relatives at this point. But 18 percent approval rating is about 10 points below where Americans approved of Congress in 2006 and 2010, the last times we saw the House changed hands.

[08:50:17] And then the issue set. Who would do a better job handling these issues between the Democrats and the Republicans? Democrats win on health care, the Russia probe, immigration and gun policy. They tie with Republicans on the federal budget and the economy. And the one clear advantage that Republicans have in the American people's minds, national security.

CAMEROTA: OK. CUOMO: So what do you see in the numbers in terms of what it means for Democrats, right, because the data is only as good as the next step approach?

CHALIAN: Well, that's true, Chris. And it is clear, and you don't have to just rely on polls for this, you can rely on actual election results over the last year, the enthusiasm in American politics is on the democratic side. There's no doubt about that. Republicans are keenly aware of the kind of headwinds they are facing.

But what we see here is that in this same poll where Donald Trump's approval rating has gone up a bit, so too has the Democratic advantage narrowed. It just shows you how important the president's approval rating is to Republican chances this fall.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about Dr. Ronny Jackson, who has now been the president's pick for VA secretary. Back in January "SNL" had a good time with Dr. Jackson's glowing report on the president's health. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR, "SNL": At the time of examination, the president was 71 years and 7 months young. His resting heart rate was a cool 68 BPM. His weight, a very svelte 239 pounds. He has a gorgeous 44 inch Coke bottle waist. His height, 75 inches, with legs that, well, they seem to go on forever.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CHALIAN: So good.

CAMEROTA: So how do you think this nomination is going to go?

CHALIAN: Certainly not as smoothly as David Shulkin's nomination went when he got 100 voting for him in favor. This is -- this is, I think, going to get much more scrutiny in terms of Ronny Jackson's experience, preparedness for this job, second biggest agency in the federal government, obviously. And what his credentials are in the past, that makes him the right person to manage that kind of hug federal bureaucracy. It's one thing to know the medical issues at hand. It's another thing to be able to run and lead that kind of an agency. And I think you're going to see a ton of scrutiny applied.

CUOMO: Right. And, look, just being a doctor, Shulkin a doctor too, he also ran hospitals. You know, it's not like we need somebody to better diagnose the veterans who are using this. There's home loans, There's all type of adjunct education. There are all these things that the VA does.

So, in terms of confirmation, the presumption is the GOP is going to keep doing what it does best, which is what Trump tells them to do. Does precedent of DeVos and Carson help or hurt Jackson? CHALIAN: Well, I think right now, because it's an election year, these

confirmation battles that are upcoming are going to be tougher than they are at the outset of the president's administration, which some of the folks you just said went through that process at the beginning stages, Chris. So now you're in a more narrowly controlled Republican Senate of just 51-49 and you're in an election rear. That complicates things like confirmation processes.

I will say this, though. Remember, when we talk about all the Republicans joining with the president, that may be. We'll see if any have concern about whether or not Ronny Jackson is the right fit for the VA. But it's also really tough, especially for Democrats running in deep red states that Donald Trump won by double digits, Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Missouri, Indiana, those senators up for re-election that are Democrats, whether they want to be tagged with voting against helping veterans, which is how this would be framed, right? So there is a calculus here where you can imagine Democrats feeling -- some Democrats feeling some political pressure this election year to get on board with this as well.

CAMEROTA: OK, David Chalian, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line."


CUOMO: Maundy Thursday "Good Stuff" is coming up.

CAMEROTA: Chris will explain.

CUOMO: I'm not -- I'm not going to tell you if there's a connection or not.

CAMEROTA: All right.

CUOMO: Maundy Thursday.

CAMEROTA: That's a tease.


[08:57:53] CUOMO: All right, time for "The Good Stuff." A reminder that good hearts are still alive.

So there was this suitcase full of memories. It belonged to this woman named Sarah Crow's (ph) parents, OK? Stolen from a car in Florida.

CAMEROTA: oh, no.

CUOMO: There was something in there that was very special, a love letter her father wrote to her mom back in 1977. So, of course, they thought they were never going to see any of this again.

Then Chris Bowers (ph) entered the picture.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw this piece of paper just sort of flickering down the street. And I thought it looked interesting. And I just picked it up out of curiosity.


CUOMO: He reads it, realizes its poignance and relevant, posts it on social media. Soon enough, Sarah was notified.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This whole thing has just been like a -- humanity is still there and like people actually kind of care. And I'm like, that's awesome.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: Yes, well said by the woman with the purple hair, the color of Maundy Thursday. Well done. I'm sure that was intentional.

CAMEROTA: Entirely. Would you like to explain to everyone?

CUOMO: Maundy Thursday, that's what this is in the triduum, the Easter tradition for Christians. And Maundy is from the commandment from Jesus' commandment do other unto others as I have done to you and people washed feet. But the color is purple. The lady had purple hair. That was enough for me.

CAMEROTA: There you go.

Now to a scary moment involving a wild animal. Here's a cheetah in a Jeep. And, by the way, there's also another one on the hood. This happened during a safari in Tanzania. The driver looks a tad nervous. He said his guide helped keep him calm, telling him not to make any sudden movements or look in the cheetah's eyes. I wouldn't have known not to look in the cheetah's eyes.

CUOMO: I stare it right in the eye.

CAMEROTA: I know you do. Eventually the cheetah moved on and no one was hurt. Except that driver was -- had the spots scared out of him.

CUOMO: You know, as an Italian from Queens, I would not have been able to forbear. You do not come in my vehicle and eat my seat and we don't get it on.

CAMEROTA: So you would have looked right in the eyes and then punched the cheetah?

CUOMO: I would have looked him in the eye and I would have used a tiger paw -- the tiger claw defense mechanism outcating him.

CAMEROTA: I understand, because he -- you are the king of the jungle.

[09:00:01] CUOMO: That's my theory.

CAMEROTA: And he would have understood that immediately.

CUOMO: Well, I'd probably be like at the hyena level out there.

CAMEROTA: Which are bad. They're scary.

CUOMO: Yes, no, they're big. We were just on safari in Tanzania. I totally believe that happened just as the man says it.