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Kushner's Harvard Classmates Make Fun of Him; Parents Win Court Case to Evict 30-Year Old Son from Their Home; Man Hit by Lava Bomb Loses Lower Leg. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 23, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: -- the media's access to information. For the second day in a row, the EPA blocked CNN and other news organizations from a news summit focused on water contaminants. Let's go to our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, who is with me now, and Dana, just jumping back what Lesley Stahl had said, it's stunning Trump's response to her but maybe not so shocking.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. He was articulating to her what is painfully obvious pretty much every day that we cover and that we watch President Trump and before that candidate Trump, that when he says fake news, a term I can't stand --

BALDWIN: I can't stand it either.

BASH: I know. When he says it, it is for one reason and one reason only, it is because he wants to take stories that he doesn't think are positive for him, those that don't put him in a positive light and make them look wrong. And, look, it was one thing when he did it as a candidate, it was not acceptable, but I still remember the very first time that he did it after he was inaugurated at a rally. And went after the press and did his whole sort of shtick about it. And it was different and it's dangerous because what we have seen since he was inaugurated is forget about us and the United States where we have constitutional backstops for the first amendment, but in other countries where they don't.

And there are leaders who are copying the President, who are emulating him, and it is very dangerous because those countries don't have the kind of core of freedom of the press, the first amendment in their government institutions, and that is what makes it so incredibly -- it's a slippery slope. Never mind the people who he's trying to affect in the United States but really it is a position that he's taking as a world leader that, you know, is very short sighted.

BALDWIN: Permanent consequences. Hot topic number two, Dana Bash, alumni who graduated from Harvard 15 years ago, their hosting a reunion, one member of their class, Jared Kushner, he won't be there. Some of his peers are ridiculing him by publishing these notes. Apparently, it's part of this whole Harvard tradition.

Here's a note obtained by "The Boston Globe": "Mostly I feel low grade, constant horror as I watch attacks on refugees, minorities, my most at-risk patients, women's right and the environment and new threats of nuclear war. Shame on you, Jared Kushner."

So, this is the reunion.

BASH: So, I don't think it should surprise any of us at a place like Harvard, which is known as by and large a liberal institution, would take offense at somebody like Jared Kushner. Now I do think to be fair it not just that Jared Kushner is working for a Republican President, it is this Republican President that his former classmates are ridiculing him for joining, for espousing the things that you just read about him there and, you know, I don't think that from talking to people who are Harvard alums that he was always the most kind of charming and out there and social guy. Maybe that was more his brother, but in terms of people not liking the ideals and policies that Jared Kushner is espousing of his father-in-law at Harvard. Are you surprised?

BALDWIN: No, it's a progressive campus. No, I'm not surprised. And just lastly and quickly, Happy Stormy Daniels day. It is actually, that is a thing in West Hollywood now, officials there told a local affiliate they were doing this because she had quote, "proven herself to be a profile in courage by speaking truth to power even under threats to her safety and extreme intimidation. I only laugh because of the fact that it's only just a day. What more do you say?

BASH: She got the key to the city, too, right?

BALDWIN: Apparently so.

BASH: West Hollywood is the perfect place for this to happen, a Stormy Daniels day. I don't think it would happen pretty much anywhere else in the country. But you know what? They're saying that she's speaking out, it's not because of other things. And you know what, she has been speaking out. We'll see to what end.

BALDWIN: Dana, thank you so much. Speaking of speaking out, a judge has ordered this 30-year-old man to leave his parents' house after they took him to court to evict him.

[15:35:00] You'll hear my conversation with the son about how it came to this after eight years of living rent free.


BALDWIN: Eight years of free room and board is long enough. That is the feeling of an upstate New York couple who has been trying to kick their 30-year-old son, Michael Rotondo out of their house. As incentive, they gave him money to get started and sent him several letters to vacate but the son said he was not given enough notice. Michael has a young son himself who he lost custody of in the last year and now the parents have gone to the courts and the verdict is that the judge evicted him. I had a chance to speak with Michael moments ago. Here is our conversation.



BALDWIN: Hi. Let me start with that you're 30. The simplest question. Do you not want to find your own place?


BALDWIN: Why not?

ROTONDO: I don't want to live there anymore.

BALDWIN: You don't want to live with your parents?

ROTONDO: No. It's very tense, it's very awkward. We have to, you know, we have to share space, which may be the case where I would find myself afterwards, but I'd prefer to get out.

BALDWIN: OK. So, on the preferring to get out, let's rewind for a second. It's my understanding you've lived at your parents' house rent free for eight years. I know you do your own laundry, you buy your own food, but they asked you five times please move out. Why couldn't you guys resolve this without the court?

ROTONDO: I would consider much of what they were doing to try to get me out as attacks, and what I was just, you know, trying to preserve -- well, trying to do what's best for me, which is trying to be a little more reasonable, I'll leave, I don't like living here but I need reasonable time. And as an example of this, the first notice, the February 2nd notice, you have basically 14 days before you're outside in the winter weather. The first thing I did when I got that is I tried -- I made sure that wasn't going to happen. I contacted the police department, I said is this something that this could happen? And they're like no. You just call us. They can't do that. I was like all right.

BALDWIN: Michael, I'm listening to you, I really am. Let me just understand because I hear you on your parents giving you notices, the fact that you are on national television talking about moving out of your parents' house, you tell me you want to move out of your parents' house. Why don't you just move out of your parents' house like tomorrow?

ROTONDO: I don't have the means to do that tomorrow.

BALDWIN: OK. Do you have a job?


BALDWIN: Are you trying to get a job? I read one of the things that parents asked of you, there are jobs available for people like you even with a poor work history, get to work. Are you working on that?

ROTONDO: I have plans to be able to provide myself with the income I need to support myself but it's not something that's going to come together tomorrow. So, I'm trying to do what's best for me and, you know, I do want to leave, and I want to leave as soon as possible but it's not tomorrow. I don't think it should have to be tomorrow.

BALDWIN: You want it to be tomorrow. It just isn't tomorrow because you don't have the means yet to make it tomorrow.


BALDWIN: Here's the next thing. A lot of us have lived with our parents, maybe a little bit longer than we wishes we could. Please take a sip of your water. Do you not want privacy, Michael? Do you not want relationships, boyfriend, girl friend, friendship, space, not shared walls with mom and dad?

ROTONDO: I do want those things.

BALDWIN: So, your parents took you to court to force you out of their homes. You argued you should have more time, you wanted the six months and I heard you say ironically maybe by the time you leave, it will be that six months. The court didn't find in your favor. Will you fight the court and fight your parents on this?

ROTONDO: I'm going to send a letter to my parents' attorney that says if you send an order to the court, a proposed order that is for three months, and there's a possibility the court won't accept that, although I don't think that makes any not a lawyer. I guess the court can deny any proposed order. I'm saying to the attorney if you put a proposed order for three months in, I won't fight anymore for the case.

[15:45:00] And the ironic thing is that if they had sent me the six- month notice to quit in February, it would have cost them zero dollars in legal expenses.

BALDWIN: So, OK. Legal expenses aside, time spent in court, I'm sure you're irked, and your parents are irked, you only have one mom and dad. Don't you want to reconcile with them?

ROTONDO: No. No, I don't. I mean, are you aware of the component regarding my son and about how I lost my visitation --


ROTONDO: So right after that they're like, well, we want you to start doing -- don't worry about your case, which was -- that's a full-time job doing a -- setting up an appeal for an order like that for custody and visitation. What you need to do right now is get a full-time job and get health insurance or we're going to throw you out. And it was devastating to lose my son and I -- I was just --


ROTONDO: I was done with them after that. I was done with them after that point.

BALDWIN: My heart goes out to you on the custody issue.

ROTONDO: Sure, sure. BALDWIN: The last piece of this, Michael, and this is really my last

question, there are a lot of people who have read about your story and the thought bubble is what is up with this millennial generation, that you guys seem so entitled. What would you say to those critics?

ROTONDO: I would say that I'm really not a member of that demographic that they're speaking to, of that group. I'm a very conservative person. The millennials that they're speaking to are very liberal in their ideology.

BALDWIN: But you're 30 so technically I think you are part of the millennial generation. I don't think there's a delineation between --

ROTONDO: You're right. But when people speak to the millennials and the -- their general nature as a millennial, they speak to more liberal leanings. In my opinion. Do you disagree?

BALDWIN: I don't think it's for me to disagree. I think a millennial is a millennial is a millennial based upon the year that you were born but I think it's totally your opinion to say that doesn't apply to me. But with that, Michael Rotondo, I appreciate you coming on and I truly wish you the best of luck.

ROTONDO: I am a millennial.

BALDWIN: Yes, Michael. Thanks.

ROTONDO: You're welcome.


BALDWIN: So that was one of the more surreal interviews we've taken part in here in the last little while. But I genuinely wish him and his parents luck. Let's move on.

Next, Hawaii. No end in sight for people who have been dealing with dangerous volcanic eruptions for three weeks now. You will hear from a man who was hit by a lava bomb and lived to tell about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just wanted to live. I didn't care if they cut my leg off down there or not.



BALDWIN: Three weeks of volcanic activity in the Kilauea summit still bubbling over. More incredible pictures and a live look at the lava gushing thousands of feet into the air. And now a new danger on the roads. You'll see blue burning flames. Like the ones you see on your stove popping up on the streets. There are methane gas exploding in between cracks in the ground and this home is close to being swallowed by cracks in the front and backyard. We talked to a homeowner injured by one of the hot lava bombs. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DARYL CLINTON, HIT BY LAVA BOMB: It came right through there somehow and at an angle and just crashed into my leg about right here and snapped it in half at the ankle and foot to where my leg was basically broken in half. It was like a hinge point, ankle, foot, leg, so then I got caught on fire. Fell on floor and grabbed my foot and leg and held them together.


BALDWIN: I mean, unreal. James Webster is with me, a geologist with the American Museum of Natural History here in New York. Jim, I don't even know what to say. I went to Kilauea as a kid and seeing a guy in a hospital because of a lava bomb. What is that?

JAMES WEBSTER, GEOLOGIST WITH AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: So, a lava bomb is actually -- it was molten material that was blown out of a fissure or a small cone in the ground. And it is cooling as it moves through the air but still very high temperature.

[15:55:00] I'm not quite sure what temperature it was -- that hit the gentleman, but I guess it was just a massive amount of energy when it hit the leg and broke the bones from the ankle down.

BALDWIN: How does it burst up and -- and how is it propelled through the air?

WEBSTER: It is expanding gases. Just like I used a car with expanding gases to get here, steam expands, and you have lava at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and just add water and that is what happens.

BALDWIN: And can you put the pictures back up with the blue flames and the methane. This is the first I've seen of those pictures. Here you go. Can you just walk us through what we're look at?

WEBSTER: So, what is happening, you could see the trees are damaged. The tremendous heat from the lava, if it slowly moves and heats the vegetation, like the grass and such, in the air it will burn the ground. But if it moves over it quickly enough and covers it, will t will cook it and make methane gas which is extremely flammable. So once that ignites you get the blue flames.

BALDWIN: I mean just crazy what is happening and the fact this guy gets injured over a lava bomb in his house. Jim Webster, I have a feeling we'll be talking again. And I should mention CNN has a live lava cam 24 hours a day showing the pictures. All you have to do is click on to watch it.

Breaking news in Washington. A source tells CNN that Jared Kushner just had his security clearance restored. What that means for his role moving forward in the White House.

Quick programming note before we go, fans sits down with CNN for a live town hall this evening. Do not miss it. It airs at 9:00 eastern here on CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. Go Washington and "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.