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Missouri Governor Facing New Allegations; Hannity Chief of Staff Claims; Cavs Win and NBA Family Death; ISIS Widow's Way Out. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 19, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:50] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so the FAA is taking action. They're ordering an inspection of jet engine blades following that deadly engine failure aboard the Southwest Airlines flight. The directive is going to limit the number of takeoffs and landings, mandating that blades be replaced when they fail inspection. Why? Because investigators say a blades, one of those things you're seeing on your screen right now that looks like a big fan, that one of those had metal fatigue and broke apart and led to flying shrapnel that smashed a window and may have led to the death of a passenger when she was partially sucked through the hole that was created. The medical examiner says Jennifer Riordan died from blunt impact trauma to her head, neck, and torso.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Now to this story. Missouri Governor Eric Greitens remains defiant and refuses to step down as he faces a new felony allegation. This follows months of scrutiny because of these allegations of sexual assault and blackmail.

CNN's Dave Briggs is here with the latest.

How is this still happening?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": You know, a guy that was such a rising star in the party and things are just going from bad to worse. Embattled GOP Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is filing now a temporary restraining order against the state's attorney general, Josh Hawley, a fellow Republican mind you, who's running for Senate against Democrat Claire McCaskill. The move comes a day after Hawley announced his office had uncovered evidence of alleged criminal wrongdoing by Greitens related to his veterans charity.


NATE WALKER (R), MISSOURI STATE REPRESENTATIVE: When you're under investigation, it never gets better usually. He needs to accept responsibility and go ahead and resign.

BRIGGS (voice over): Republican lawmakers intensifying calls for Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to step down as he faces a second felony charge. The Republican state attorney general alleging the governor took a list of donors from his military veterans charity to raise money for his campaign. JOSH HAWLEY, MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is known as computer

tampering. And given the value of the list in question, it is a felony.

BRIGGS: Three Republican leaders in the state legislature telling the embattled governor in a statement, quote, when leaders lose the ability to effectively lead our state, the right thing to do is step aside. Others calling for the house, who is investigating the matter, to start impeachment proceedings if the governor refuses to resign. But the former Navy SEAL denies any wrongdoing and is holding his ground, tweeting, I will not be resigning the governor's office. In three weeks this matter will go to a court of law, where it belongs, where the facts will prove my innocence.

It comes months after the governor was indicted for invasion of privacy in a separate case involving a woman he admitted to having an extramarital affair with. The woman's ex-husband recording a phone conversation in 2015 where she claims Greitens he took nude photos of her without her consent to keep her quiet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he stepped back, and I saw a flash through the blindfold and he said, you're never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere.

BRIGGS: Greitens denies taking the photos and claims the affair was consensual.

GOV. ERIC GREITENS (R), MISSOURI: This is exactly like what's happening with the witch hunts in Washington, D.C., smearing, lying and attacking people who want to change how things are done is wrong in Washington and it's wrong in Missouri.


BRIGGS: Now, just last week, a special house committee investigating misconduct allegations against Greitens outlined disturbing details from the woman he had the affair with. She told lawmakers he hit, groped and coerced her. Greitens trial for the invasion of privacy charge begins next month.

Guy, for a man who was once mentioned as a future presidential candidate, now faces four years in prison if convicted. Hard to believe.

CUOMO: He used that buzz word. We all know now that when you hear witch hunt, you know there's got to be something to it.

BRIGGS: You know he's calling to as well.

CUOMO: All right, Dave Briggs, thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, Dave.

CUOMO: Sean Hannity, very tight with President Trump. How do we know? Well, Washington House insiders reportedly refer to him as the unofficial chief of staff. Is that a problem for Fox News? Nope. Why not? Next.


[06:38:52] CUOMO: Fox News is standing by Sean Hannity, period. It will always be that way, one should expect. However, we just had a revelation. That Hannity was the unnamed third client of President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen. Hannity doesn't disclose that even though he's been ardently defending Cohen and attacking everybody who's investigating and looking at Cohen.

Now, this comes as new Washington -- there's a new "Washington Post" report that says that White House staffers say that the Fox News host has been dubbed the unofficial chief of staff.

All right, let's just talk about how important Hannity is to the administration and what that means for a news organization. We have CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter, and CNN media analyst Bill Carter.

We were talking before the segment about how relevant Sean Hannity has become. And I was obviously trying to suggest that I think he's the biggest the right wing has ever had. And you gave me a good qualification, on TV.


CUOMO: Rush Limbaugh on radio. OK, maybe he hasn't eclipsed him yet.


CUOMO: But knowing that this is what Fox News largely wants to be is the mothership, is the controlling agency of all things that are positive for Donald Trump, why wouldn't they stand by Sean Hannity if he's really just succeeding at being that proxy for the president?

CARTER: Oh, yes. Yes, and it -- yes, and it's more than that because he's obviously their rain maker. He's their biggest attraction.

[06:40:12] CUOMO: Sure.

CARTER: So they're going to stand by him.

I think what's interesting is, they -- has he told them everything? I still wonder, has he actually come clean with them? Wouldn't they at least say to him, now, tell us what they're going to find if they go through all of the --

CAMEROTA: But why? Won't they want plausible deniability when they could say, we didn't know about any of this? I mean we've (ph) heard them say things like that in the past.

CARTER: Well -- well, maybe, but, you know, what news -- what boss wants to be surprised by his employee. I think that --

CUOMO: You could argue this one, Bill.

CARTER: Maybe.

CUOMO: Because, look, Alisyn's dead on, on this.


CUOMO: So they say, hey, you know, he was working with Michael Cohen. Did you know? No, we didn't know. We're surprised by this but we stand by him. We don't think it's a big deal.

They let it play out. There's -- there were no real teeth to the allegation other than the suggestion, which is obvious, he should have disclosed. It doesn't matter if he's a journalist or if he's a puppet master.

CARTER: Right, of course.

CUOMO: It doesn't matter.

CARTER: Right.

CUOMO: And they got away with it.

CARTER: Well, they always get away with it. But their audience -- their audience is always -- I don't think they got away with it in general. I think a lot of people have looked and this and said, this is just flat wrong. I mean you're not supposed to be doing this in -- and if you're a journalism organization, which they still purport to be, they are on the wrong side of this issue.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fox is two networks in one. It's a news broadcaster, but it's also this giant opinion broadcaster. And that creates so many tensions. This is a great example of the tensions.

There are staffers inside Fox that aren't happy with Hannity, that feel this was embarrassing for Fox, that feel this should have been disclosed. They're not comfortable having to work with him as a colleague. So there's that tension all the time. He's highly rated, but he causes huge headaches.

And I don't know if this doesn't have teeth. I don't think we know yet exactly what was going on between Hannity and Cohen. We've heard the denials, we've heard them downplaying it. But something doesn't add up here. So I think we're going to have to wait until the investigators get to the bottom of this and -- and if anything is shared through the Cohen investigation about Hannity. There's no reason to believe there will be, but there is some reason why Cohen's lawyer had to disclose Hannity's name, right?

CARTER: And why they didn't want to do it. They fought against releasing that name. It would have been very simple if Hannity came out in public and said, yes, my name will come up in this because it's --

CUOMO: Right.

CARTER: I had a minor conversation with the guy.

CUOMO: Well, the government, the media, a lawyer that was representing a consortium of media, including CNN, and the judge compelled Cohen and his attorneys to come up with the names of the clients --



CUOMO: Because there's a battle about whether or not this is a business transaction that the government's looking at or legal practice.


CUOMO: And that's where all the confidences and all that stuff come on. So they were like, well, if you're practicing law, let's hear who your clients are. That's how it came to be.

STELTER: Interesting, because that same question of who -- you know, what is this? What is Sean Hannity? Is he -- is he a newsman? (INAUDIBLE) says no. Is he an opinion guy? Is he the president's shadow chief of staff? I thought "The Washington Post" reporting was so interesting because it really portrays this television host as someone who should be in the White House organizational chart, who --



STELTER: Someone who essentially has a desk at the White House. We haven't seen that before in the media.


CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that.

CARTER: It's interesting people have brought up Ben Bradley, for example, being close to John Kennedy, right?

STELTER: To Kennedy.


CARTER: Ben Bradley was a reporter and he was, you know, friendly with him before it was -- but he wasn't -- not like in the White House constantly talking to him. In fact, he wound up being exiled for a while because he said something critical about -- Sean Hannity is not in that position. It's a very different situation.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about "The Washington Post" reporting, OK. So it said the president and Sean Hannity have multiple conversations, phone conversations, a day. Sean Hannity, these staffers believe, gives the president policy advice, gives the president all sorts of talking points.

STELTER: Yes, staff advice. Yes.

CAMEROTA: Staff advice. And the president gives Sean Hannity show advice, acting as his EP for the show. And this is symbiotic relationship that they've had for a long time, but it is unprecedented.

STELTER: I guess maybe this is going to be the new normal, that president's will always have a favorite television show that they're secretly kind of helping promote -- not -- well, Trump publicly promotes it. Maybe he secretly produces it as well. Maybe that's going to be the new normal, but --

CAMEROTA: Let's not go there, that this is the new normal.

CUOMO: One -- one push back. One push back. Full disclosure, albeit 9:00, Sean Hannity is there. I've been watching his show more trying to get a feel for him.

STELTER: Right. Right.

CUOMO: Full disclosure, "Morning Joe" is opposite us for MSNBC in the morning. How's this different than "Morning Joe"? Remember in the days of the glow --


CUOMO: When he and Mika spoke to Trump all the time, had him on, discussed what questions to talk about in the break, and they were the Trump whisperer.

CAMEROTA: But was he a candidate then?

CARTER: He was.

CUOMO: Sure.

CAMEROTA: And, but, you're saying that does -- that shouldn't matter?

CUOMO: I'm saying what Hannity is doing, I get why it bothers people.


CUOMO: But "Morning Joe" was applauded for his relevancy. And look how they have Trump on.

CARTER: I think he was -- I think he got a little kick (ph) back (ph).

CUOMO: I don't know. I was watching the headlines very closely, because I believe it worked against us here because we didn't have that kind of access because we weren't mwa (ph), mwa, mwa with Donald Trump all the time.

CARTER: Right.

CUOMO: And now it's suiting them to do the opposite. That hasn't been called out either, right, their relationship soured. CAMEROTA: Answer that, Brian Stelter.

CUOMO: They --

STELTER: Isn't the difference that he's now president and Hannity is providing a shelter from the storm. That, yes, the "Morning Joe" relationship when he was a candidate was curious and was certainly deserving of scrutiny. But now he's the president. And now you have the president of the United States was able to use this shelter on Hannity's show every night, you know, every single day Hannity says that Mueller's corrupt, Mueller's corrupt, he's got to go, he's got to go. The repetition every single night has an effect --

[06:45:09] CUOMO: I wonder who taught him that?

STELTER: Has an effect in the polls.

CAMEROTA: All right, thank you very much, Brian and Bill.

All right, there's sad news to report from the NBA. The wife of the Spurs head coach has died. We have reaction in the "Bleacher Report," next.


CAMEROTA: LeBron James put on an incredible performance to even up the Cavs series with the Pacers. But all is not well in Cleveland after the win.

Lindsay Czarniak has more in the "Bleacher Report."



And this is true. Not all is right because LeBron cant' do it all alone. The Cavs coach wants to see more from other players. LeBron, though, did decide he needed to lead by example last night.

This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.

So LeBron took control from the start. He scored the first 16 points in the first six minutes. He finished with 46 points total. The Cavs finished with a win to even their series with the Pacers. LeBron, afterwards, sending a message to his team.

[06:50:09] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVS: We got lucky. We gave up a wide open three to (INAUDIBLE). And he missed it. I'd rather be on time and on target than being lucky.


CZARNIAK: That means, guys, step up. Moments before that interview, LeBron James learning some sad news

impacting the entire NBA family. Erin Poppovich, wife of legendary Spurs coach Gregg Poppovich, passed away yesterday after battling an undisclosed illness for quite some time. Despite his tough exterior, Poppovich is one of the most beloved coaches in the league. LeBron was emotional when asked about the news.


JAMES: Obviously I'm a huge Pop fan. I love Pop. That's -- that's such a tragedy. And, you know, my best wishes goes out to Pop and his family.

KEVIN DURANT, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Man. I don't even know what to say, man.


CZARNIAK: The Warriors' Kevin Durant obviously moved. And they will play tonight. So all eyes will be on if Pop is there and how that goes for their team.

CAMEROTA: Lindsay, thank you.

CZARNIAK: You're welcome.

CUOMO: Yes, appreciate it.

All right, so this woman from Indiana says that her husband duped her into joining ISIS. What she said she has gone through as a result, next.


[06:55:27] CUOMO: All it took was a vacation for an American woman's world to be turned upside-down. Her name is Sally Sam, and she says she was duped into joining ISIS by her husband, enduring the horror of ritual beatings and torture. Now all she wants is to return home to Indiana.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has the story.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The story of how an Indiana family went from a mundane life of sports cars and the delivery business to joining ISIS and to see their son here, the face of ISIS propaganda against America, is one of mystery, compassion, and animal savagery that stretches belief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So get ready for the fighting has just begun.

SAM SALLY, WIFE OF ISIS FIGHTER: All I saw was a bunch of drug-using thugs that came from their countries who had no place.

WALSH: We meet Sam Sally, 32, Matthew, 10, and Sarah, age five, and her youngest, two, born in the so-called ISIS caliphate, now in Syrian custody, in limbo. And whether they go home or not depends in part on how well Sam explains her innocence in the four-year ordeal behind them.

Her story begins with a vacation to Turkey, that led to a border town where she says she was duped to crossing into ISIS' world.

WALSH (on camera): There will be people who simply don't believe you.

SALLY: They can believe whatever they want to believe, but they've never been put in a situation to make a decision like that.

WALSH (voice over): At the ISIS border crossing, she says she faced an impossible choice. Her husband grabbed little Sarah, while she had Matthew.

SALLY: The position I was in was to stay there with my son or watch my daughter leave with my husband. And I had to make a decision. I thought, like I said, we could just walk across the border and we could come back again.

WALSH: She chose to keep the family together. But it's hard to believe Sam didn't ever realize what she was getting into. It was also when the gentle comforts of her marriage ended and her husband, Musa (ph), who never even seemed devout (ph) in America, became an abusive monster.

SALLY: Before he used to spoil me, I love you, this -- I mean we were very much in love. The romance never left. As soon as we came here, it was completely different. Everything was completely different. I was a dog. I didn't have a choice. It was extremely violent.

WALSH: Musa traveled a lot to fight. He beat Sam at home. But still had two more children with her in Raqqa. (INAUDIBLE) why. Part of the stifling twists of a clearly abusive relationship may remain locked inside Sam, along with exactly watching you and when about Musa's radicalization.

Remarkably, Musa suggested they buy slaves. Some of these Idi (ph) girls captured by ISIS in 2014. They spent $20,000 on two teenage girls, Suad (ph) and Berdrean (ph) and a younger boy, Aham (ph). Donned to keep her company, she says, and rescue the saves to a better life. Yet Musa repeatedly raped the girls.

SALLY: When I met Suad, I couldn't -- I couldn't think about money. Like, I would have spent every dollar I had on her to bring her.

WALSH (on camera): But it turned out that she was repeatedly raped by your husband.

SALLY: That is true. But in every house that she was in before, that was the same situation, but she didn't have the support of someone like me.

WALSH: Do you now not regret enabling that serial rape? SALLY: No, because it would have been worse with anybody else. And,

no. No one will ever, ever be able to imagine what it's like to watch their husband rape a 14-year-old girl. Ever. And then she comes to you, comes to me after crying and I hold her and tell her it's going to be OK. Everything's going to be fine. Just be patient. I would never apologize for bringing those girls to my house. We knew that if we were just patient, we would stick through it together. You understand? I was like their mother.

WALSH (voice over): Astonishingly, Suad sent this message from a refugee camp confirming Sam's kindness and how Sam was beaten black and blue. She tried to protect her from Musa.

I'm doing well with my family, she says, and I want to see you even just once more. Let me know what I can do to get you out.

Yet the terror did not stop there. Matthew, born in Texas of Sam's first marriage to an American soldier, was a prized cast member for an ISIS film shoot.

WALSH (on camera): How did Matthew come to be in that video?

SALLY: Um --

WALSH: I recognize him from it.

[06:59:58] SALLY: It was not by choice. I ended up with two broken ribs over that video. I fought -- mean, I fought. I fought.

WALSH: What do you remember of that day, Matthew?

MATTHEW: It was hard. I didn't want to do it.