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Independent Autopsy: Stephon Clark Shot 8 Times in Back; Trump Stuns Own Administration with Plans to Exit Syria; Will Roseanne's History of Conspiracies Impact Show; Parkland Survivor Rejects Fox News Host's Apology; Howard University Students Outraged over Financial Aid Scandal; Coffee to Get Cancer Warning in California. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 30, 2018 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are now saying that this result, these results contradict the narrative that we have been getting from the authorities, which, as I said, what is was that Stephon Clark was facing them at the time that the first shots were fired. And 20 shots in all. We know eight of those hit him.

Of course, there have been protests since Stephon Clark was killed. People have been demanding that the two officers involved be charged. Today, inside, as these results were being announced, I heard one man say murder. We have to wait and see what the reaction from the community is going to be.

One of the lawyers said, listen, at this point, we are not jumping to any conclusions. We're just presenting the facts, and the facts, as we see them right now, contradict the narrative we have been getting from the authorities -- Brooke?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Nick Watt, thank you.

Meantime, concern and confusion in the White House and the Pentagon after a surprise announcement from the president on Syria. A top official saying the staff is still trying to figure out exactly what President Trump meant when he said this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're knocking the hell out of ISIS. We'll be coming out of Syria very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.


TRUMP: Very soon. Very soon, we're coming out. We'll have 100 percent of the caliphate, as they call it, sometimes referred to as land, taking it all back quickly, quickly. But we're going to be coming out of there real soon.


BALDWIN: Hours before that piece of news, which happened in the middle of this infrastructure event in Ohio, we heard a very different message from the Pentagon.


DANA WHITE, CHIEF PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: While the coalition has significantly degraded ISIS, important work remains to guarantee the lasting defeat of these violent extremists.

As long as they exist and bring death and destruction around the world, we will continue to degrade, destroy and ultimately defeat ISIS.


BALDWIN: Lives are on the line. The U.S. has 2,000 troops in Syria era. We are learning one U.S. servicemember was just killed in an explosive attack.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is with me now.

Barbara, did officials at the Pentagon have any idea what the president meant by what he said in Ohio?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: I asked a fair number of officials around the building today, Brooke, and they're sort of left with that, we don't know kind of shrug. Not that they don't take the president, the commander-in-chief seriously, for the record. But they're puzzled. They're shrugging their shoulders, what does he mean. I can't find anybody that tells me they've heard any more about this from the White House. The general theory you hear is that what the president is talking about is the success against ISIS and his belief that this will lead the U.S. to be able to withdraw relatively soon. But, as the Pentagon is pointing out, more complicated than you might think.

Remember, the president said in that clip, let others do it. The other Syrian militias that the U.S. has been working with, they have moved on to northern Syria because the Turks are up there. They're not everywhere they used to be fighting ISIS. The U.S. still feels ISIS is there. Let others do it. It's the Russians and Syrians who are taking back a lot of territory as well. It's still a sovereign country. It's still Bashar Assad's country, whether we like it or not. So it's problematic. You cannot stay forever, and the debate is, how long do you stay, is it now time to go, is ISIS really defeated? Big question mark there.

BALDWIN: Real-world concerns if the U.S. yanks these troops out or what?

STARR: Absolutely. It is still very much tied to Iraq next door. Because one of the fears we hear, the concerns that U.S. military intelligence has, ISIS not defeated, they will drift back into Iraq, cause trouble there. They would be able to eventually regroup.

But this is really a much deeper problem. What does it mean to defeat ISIS? You can't kill your way out of terrorism. The U.S. has learned that over the last 17 years, if nothing else. It's going to be a major effort to try and basically dissolve the networks, dissolve the terrorist nodes, and keep them from regrouping. That's not something, no matter how much the president hopes for it, that's not something that's likely to happen very quickly.

[14:34:29] BALDWIN: Barbara, thank you.

Just ahead, the "Roseanne" reboot winning big in the ratings game. But could the show's outspoken star actually cause potential landmines for the network with her history of conspiracy theories?

And a Parkland survivor takes on a FOX News host after she attacked him, bullied him on Twitter. Why he as saying no thanks to her apology.


BALDWIN: The "Roseanne" reboot is on a roll. Monster ratings right out of the gate. ABC is poised to renew the show for a second season. But after episode one, people are wondering if the reboot is Trump propaganda. And 2018's Roseanne is a Trump supporter. And the real- life Roseanne has a history of promoting right-wing conspiracy theories on her Twitter feed. The series' star says she wants the show to be a realistic image of a family in America's current political climate.

With me now, Dan Abrams, legal analyst, and founder of "Mediaite."

Good to see you.


BALDWIN: Do you think ABC will have an issue on its hands with the conspiracy theories that are beginning to percolate into the mainstream?

ABRAMS: No. She's long had a big following on social media. This is not news she has said these things in the past. She's gotten this renewed interest. People are looking, I guess, again at things she said under the microscope more.

BALDWIN: What if she keeps it up?

[14:39:57] ABRAMS: That would be different. My guess is that her goal will be to have crossover appeal, someone that Trump supporters can say I like the show and non-Trump supporter can still say I get it. I was a fan back in the day and this isn't going to make me not watch the show. I think we've become very forgiving about past social media comments and I also think broadcast television is different.

BALDWIN: I agree, given who the audience may be, and who may or may not be aware of all this percolating. Do you think that the president deserves credit for any of her 18 million viewers? Because he's taking it.

ABRAMS: No. Who knew what was going to be said on the show. To say you see, because they were talking about this in a positive way on the show, that's why the show popular. That would suggest that people had a script before to go see the show. They're building an audience of X, Y or Z after three episodes. But to say on the first episode they said things that were pro Trump that that's the reason that the show did well, doesn't kind of make sense.



ABRAMS: You could say it's why people might watch the second episode.

BALDWIN: But not the first.

ABRAMS: Right. Because --


BALDWIN: It's not just she's a Trump supporter. There's so much more progressive issues, her sister wearing the hat for the woman's march.

ABRAMS: Yes. Yes.

BALDWIN: I agree with you on the crossover appeal.

Something I was wondering about, because we have the likes of everything between "Fuller House," "Will & Grace" reboot, not "Roseanne," is there an '80s or '90s show that could be relevant today that you would like to see reboot up?

ABRAMS: That I would like to see?


ABRAMS: Me, I'd like to see --

BALDWIN: That could be relevant today.

ABRAMS: I would love to see "Seinfeld" today. I don't know that it would be that relevant, so to speak. We maybe analyzing "Roseanne" a little bit too much. We in the news business want to bring everything back.

BALDWIN: Not often is there a working-class family on mainstream TV.


BALDWIN: And I think there's a need for it, based on people watching.


ABRAMS: Right. But that's what we need on television. That's a different question from relevance today. Working-class families are always going to be relevant on television. Period. And if they're under represented, that's always going to be a problem, period, no matter when you're talking about. But I think these reboots are going to be something that every network will want to try to do. You have familiarity. You have people who know the characters. And you have people who, in many cases, love the characters.

BALDWIN: I want to ask you about Laura Ingraham. Let me say for the record, I would love to see "Family Matters," Steve Erkel, African- American family, police officer father. With everything happening now, wouldn't you like to see it?

Jaleel White, if you're watching.


BALDWIN: I would love to see that.

Meantime, FOX News' Laura Ingraham basically bullied this Parkland survivor -- let's call it what it is -- on Twitter over not getting into any colleges, and he tossed a bomb back and said to advertisers, essentially, I dare to you pull out of the show. Are you surprised how many advertisers have bailed?

ABRAMS: I am surprised, because I think many who advertise with her show know what the show is. I think we should be careful. I think it's dangerous for either side to celebrate advertisers pulling out and advertisers deciding --


ABRAMS: Why should advertisers be the ones who can finally have the impact? Right? It seems that's the only way --

BALDWIN: Isn't that what she really cares --


ABRAMS: Do I think that's the reason she apologized? My guess is that it's her realizing she went too far and the advertisers. It's a dangerous business on the whole when we start celebrating the advertisers are pulling out. That can happen to either side and anyone. You can hope that it would be the public, the viewers who are the ones that demand change and --


BALDWIN: Last question, the devil's advocate piece. But if these students, many whom are 16, 17, 18 years of age suffer a tragic loss, but if they're using words like "murderers" in referring to members of the NRA and others who -- is it fair to throw it back?

ABRAMS: No, they're fair game. They're advocates now. They're young victim advocates. But they have to be treated as advocates. The problem here was Laura ended up being petty about it. It wasn't that she criticized him that was the problem. The problem was it felt small and petty to do to a high school student. In particular, when you're talking about something that only high school students have to deal with, getting into college. That's what made this different. There's no question, hey, these kids better saddle up. If they're going to get into this debate and be out there advocating, they better learn how to take it.

BALDWIN: Dan Abrams, good to see you.

ABRAMS: You, too.

[14:45:09] BALDWIN: Thank you so much.

Ahead here, Gloria Allred splitting with one of the president's accusers, the former "Apprentice" contestant, in the middle of a significant lawsuit. And Summer Zervos says it's her decision to split. We'll get into that.

Also, student outrage boiling over at the campus of Howard University in D.C. after the iconic school fires six employees for misappropriating financial aid funds. We have the details on the scandal that dates back nearly a decade.


[14:50:05] BALDWIN: Howard University students are outraged after news broke this week that six employees at the historically black university were fired for misappropriating financial aid funds. Students staging a sit-in at the university's administration building in D.C. where the financial aid office is located. They want answers from the administration. Some are calling for the university president to resign if they don't get their questions answered.

This comes after an outside auditor found some Howard employees had received both grants and tuition remission to attend classes. The investigation found when the money was more than the cost of the education, some staffers were pocketing the difference.

Kesi is with me. She's a Howard student and a reporter for the "Hilltop" student paper, and she's the daughter of an employee at this network.

Kesi, so nice to have you on. Welcome.


BALDWIN: Here you are, you're Sophomore student journalist covering this protest on your own college campus. What do the students want?

FELTON: First and foremost, we want transparency and for our administration to be held accountable for what's going on. The main point that's been made is the six people that have been fired due to negligence with university funds. But that's not the main thing. Really spearheading this whole thing and have had a list of demands that were put forth last week or so, I believe, that have had things that they've been taking student interests into account and it really put forth this list. It's not just this one moment, the financial aid scandal. There's really a lot of student concerns that have been going on for quite some time. Now that we have national attention because of the financial aid scandal, it's really come to light. BALDWIN: Speaking of coming to light, photos of one of these students

alleged to be involved, he's wearing fur coats, going on fancy vacations.


BALDWIN: That's everywhere. And a bunch of memes being tweeted and retweeted. But students who truly needed financial assistance were denied and this guy is doing what he's doing.

FELTON: That's the other thing, the main thing that's gotten viral attention. Like Rihanna tweeted, but that's not the main issue here. People aren't talking about the six other people that were fired and investigated --


BALDWIN: It wasn't just this one guy.

FELTON: Right. It's wasn't just one guy. I was watching an interview he was doing with Roland Martin earlier today. Although his life has been affected by this, it's turning the attention away from what the issue again is really here, student voices and the fact that students are not happy with the state of the university, in that we're trying to be listened to. And turning the attention away from that and not what we're actually saying and the people still in the administration building now are saying.

BALDWIN: Kasi, keep digging and demanding that transparency. I'm sure your mom is quite proud of you.

Kasi Felton, thank you very much.

FELTON: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up here, Gloria Allred suddenly splitting from one of the president's accusers, this former "Apprentice" contestant. This is happening in the middle of the very expensive lawsuit. The question is, why?


[14:57:50] BALDWIN: If you visit or live in California, your next cup of coffee could come with a cancer warning. A judge there has preliminarily ruled against 90 companies, including Starbucks on the grounds that they failed to prove a chemical in their coffee posed no health risks. The culprit is acrylamide, which is created when the coffee is roasted. It's on California's list of possible causes of cancer.

With me now, Roshini Raj, Dr. Raj. An associate medical professor at NYU, Langone Health.

Good to see you.


BALDWIN: You know lots of people. I was confessing to you before I quit caffeine a year and a half ago I could not get out of bed without a cup of coffee.

RAJ: One of the biggest addictions in this country.

BALDWIN: Does it really cause cancer?

RAJ: No. The bottom line, this chemical, in some studies, has shown in animals and rodents, in thousands of times the amount you get in a typical cup of coffee, could potentially cause cancer. The amount you're going to get in your daily coffee, even if you have several cups, probably not an issue at all. I'm surprise this had ruling came through. With any sort of food or drink, moderation is the key. Six to eight cups a day, it's not a bad idea to cut it down.


BALDWIN: What is the chemical?

RAJ: This is a chemical that a byproduct of the roasting of the coffee beans, but is in baked goods, processed foods. You are probably getting it in many other parts of your diet. The amounts we're getting are probably not enough to be worried about. Coffee has many health benefits. Studies show it reduces your risk of type two diabetes, Parkinson's and even some types of cancer, like liver cancer. Overall, there's probably a positive benefit to drinking coffee, which is a little bit surprising --


BALDWIN: Are you telling me I should go back to it?

RAJ: Don't go back to it. If you're not addicted to it, I wouldn't say start. But children, pregnant women --


BALDWIN: OK. Moderation.


RAJ: Moderation, always, yes.

BALDWIN: Roshini Raj, thank you very much.

RAJ: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Let's continue on here with the next hour. We have breaking news on two fronts. A short time from now, officials will hold a news conference on the death of Alton Sterling, the black man shot and killed by police in Louisiana. We learned this week the prosecutors announced the police would not face charges. Sources tell CNN we will see videos of have shooting that have yet to be released to the public. And we are warned that they are very graphic and disturbing.