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Trump Lawyer Argues Law; Heavy Rain for Northeast; Breast Cancer and Chemo; Cancer Screening Age Change. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired June 4, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:31:37] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We do have some breaking news for you out of Guatemala. More than two dozen people are dead after the Fuego volcano erupts. Check out these images on your screen. A hiker captured these of the eruption. Big plumes of smoke filled the air. At this point, at least 25 people are dead and 20 more are injured. Officials say the eruption is now over, but they're still warning people in three nearby towns to watch out for volcanic rock and ash.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: For the first time in 24 days, First Lady Melania Trump is expected to return. She will attend a White House event. This one honoring Gold Star families. But the event is closed to the press. The first lady has not been seen in public since having a kidney procedure last month that kept her hospitalized for five days. Officials say she will not join the president for the G-7 summit or the June 12th meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.

CAMEROTA: All right, an FBI agent could face charges for accidentally shooting a customer in a Denver bar -- oh my God. There's his gun. Oh. OK, while he was dancing, he did a backflip and he dropped his gun. It fell out of the holster. And then the weapon fired, as you are about to see, when he -- there you go, he grabs it, and it fires, and it hit a customer in the leg. The customer is expected to recover. The D.A. is now deciding whether to file charges.

BERMAN: What's the charge? I mean just excessive stupidity?

CAMEROTA: Explosive dancing. That's what the charge is, John.


CAMEROTA: And I think you're familiar with that.

BERMAN: I am, all too familiar with it.


BERMAN: But I will say that, you know, other than -- I mean I'm not sure there's a deeper meaning here other than being like ridiculously stupid.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, the deeper meaning where I think that we're often looking for what to do about gun violence. And, as you know, there's often the argument, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guys with a gun. But sometimes the good guy with the gun actually shoots somebody in a bar. Is there -- that -- there's no rule that we can follow.

BERMAN: In my -- in my own defense, dirty dancing is different than dangerous dancing. Just (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: Yes. Oh, yes,. Oh, yes, you're right, dirty dancing is preferable.

BERMAN: In my own defense.

Is President Trump above the law? His attorneys seem to think so. They believe he even has the power to pardon himself. Does he? We'll discuss, next.


[06:38:09] BERMAN: So, can the president shut down any federal investigation? The president's lawyers believe so. In a January letter to the special counsel, published by "The New York Times," the president's legal team argues that the president's actions here by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.

Joining us now is CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, and CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

And, Doug, I want to start with you because this is very reminiscent of that famous exchange from former President Nixon, who had then been drummed out of office to David Frost that he made in 1977. Let's just, once again, listen to that for one moment.


RICHARD NIXON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.


NIXON: Exactly.


BERMAN: And that statement was so controversial at the time. You know, they made a movie about it. It's sort of accepted fact, it was, for decades that what Richard Nixon was saying there wasn't in fact, true. But now the president's lawyers are basing their whole difference on it, Doug.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: They are. It's the return of the ghost of Richard Nixon. It's being adopted by Donald Trump as his defense. You know, it's just been astounding to me to think about what's going on the past week. Our founding fathers, you know, purposely wanted to make sure that we didn't create a demagogue as president, somebody who thought that they were above the law. We did everything we could with checks and balances, and, you know, Supreme Court. But here you have a president threatening that I'm -- I'm above approach, I'm above the law and sending messages that I can -- I can pardon anybody I want to at any time, including myself if need be.

So we -- we're heading into a constitutional crisis when the Mueller report eventually comes forward with its findings because very -- very -- it looks like there will be obstruction of justice charges, that Donald Trump's going to say there's no such thing, the president can't obstruct.

[06:40:15] BERMAN: Well, the thing is, when you say obstruction of justice charges, that suggests there will actually be something legally filed here. And that's what we don't know, Jeffrey Toobin, right? They're going to put out this memo, or letter, at some point, Robert Mueller presumably will, which will either say or not say that the president did these things, and then it will be up for Congress to decide.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Right. And I think, you know, they're -- even Trump's lawyers recognize that impeachment remains a possibility.

But the idea that the president cannot obstruct justice, it's not just the framers (ph) who disagree. Remember, in the 1970s, Richard Nixon was forced from office because he was going to be impeached for obstruction of justice in connection with Watergate. In 1998, Bill Clinton was impeached for obstruction of justice in connection with the Monica Lewinsky investigation. So the notion that president's cannot obstruct justice is -- is not only wrong by, you know, historical framer standards, but Congresses in our lifetime have recognized that presidents can obstruct justice.

BERMAN: And, to an extent, they're distracting from the major argument here by making the argument about indictments or not, because that's not what the issue is here, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: Well, Mueller has more or less indicated that he will be bound by Department of Justice policy, which currently says sitting presidents cannot be indicted. So there is no real possibility, I think --

BERMAN: Right.

TOOBIN: That there is going to be a criminal case against Donald Trump while he is president. But, still, the broader question of whether he has the right to do that is sort of a profound issue in American life.

BERMAN: And we can debate that, but it may not be pertinent here. And on the issue of pardoning, people are all caught up in knots about whether or not the pardon -- the president can pardon himself. The Constitution's crystal clear, you can't pardon for impeachment, period. So if it were ever to come to that, the president has no power there. You know, Doug, what's the history in terms of the self-pardoning,

though? We're having this discussion. Where was that discussion during Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton?

BRINKLEY: Oh, it's insane the idea of this self-pardoning. I mean we live in a political system and this is going to be decided in the end by Congress and then perhaps the courts. But when I say Congress first, we have a midterm election here.

BERMAN: Right.

BRINKLEY: And if the Democrats happen to take over Congress, they very well, if the Mueller report coincides with that and points to obstruction of justice, they're going to start impeachment proceedings. And you might have something similar that happened to Bill Clinton. He -- very well Donald Trump could get impeached by Congress but not by the Senate and is able to hang in there.

And if you're a Trump supporter, you say, look, Bill Clinton got more popular in his --

BERMAN: That's right.

BRINKLEY: You know, as he went through that whole process. And the -- and the Democrats will drag it out for a year or more. So unless Democrats could get the Senate and Congress, it's going to be hard to get rid of Donald Trump. However, Donald Trump Jr. very well might get indicted.

BERMAN: Well, and he could be pardoned. And there is precedent for that, right, Doug? I mean President Clinton pardoned Roger Clinton.

BRINKLEY: And that's what the Trump crowd's going to say, if Bill Clinton can pardon Roger, we can pardon Donald Trump Jr. And this is a full-out war. I mean we've been calling it a -- a kind of neo-civil war going on in this country. But this is going to come to a head at some point and it's going to be a big argument in my mind of what is obstruction of justice. And I agree with Jeffrey, you know, presidents do obstruct justice. Nixon did. Clinton did. And very likely Donald Trump did in the firing of Comey.

BERMAN: Very quickly, Jeffrey, what's the most important thing to emerge over the last 48 hours with this 20 page memo? Is it the admission of a lie over the Trump Tower meeting?

TOOBIN: You know, I think the -- it's a broader issue than that. It's -- the most important thing about this memo is that Donald Trump is asserting powers that no president has ever asserted before. And I think that is a signal of the nature of the fight we're having now, more than any of the specifics.

BERMAN: Jeffrey Toobin, Douglas Brinkley, thanks so much.


CAMEROTA: OK, John, the Northeast is bracing for even more rain and that, of course, is raising concerns about serious flooding. So we're tracking all the storms for you, next.


[06:48:23] OK, another round of heavy rain pelting the Northeast U.S., with some areas facing the threat of flooding.

CNN's meteorologist, Chad Myers, has our forecast.

I drove through this, this morning, Chad. I can attest, it is unpleasant.

CHAD MYERS AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It is. And it's moving towards Boston now, up into New England. They could use a little bit of rain, but not like this. Some areas of the mid-Atlantic, this is D.C., Baltimore area, picked up six inches of rain over the weekend. And so, yes, rivers are in flood stage. And that water still has to go downhill. So even if you're not flooding now, you still may have a bubble of water up the hill coming toward you. So, watch out for that, all of the mid-Atlantic states.

Now, the rain today does move away. It moves away from New York and into New England. And then finally, finally offshore. And for the most part, it's going to be a fairly decent week, all the way through New York, through Baltimore, for Washington, D.C., and Boston.

And, John, for you, temperatures will be at or below normal, at least a couple of degrees below normal, for the whole week long. It will be a very pleasant and beautiful week in New York City this week if you're visiting there.

BERMAN: Just for me.


BERMAN: I like the way you frame that. Chad Myers, thanks very much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: A landmark study finds most women with early stage breast cancer can skip chemotherapy without hurting their chances of beating the disease. We'll discuss this really important development, next.


[06:53:42] CAMEROTA: OK, now to a medical breakthrough. A new study says about 70 percent of women diagnosed with the most common forms of breast cancer can skip chemotherapy.

Here to discuss this new research is Dr. Larry Norton. He's an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Doctor, thank you so much for being here.

This sounds life changing.


CAMEROTA: So can you explain, in layman's terms, what this means for women who are diagnosed with breast cancer?

NORTON: Well, we've known for several decades that when people have an operation for breast cancer or radiation with surgery that they still are at risk often of cancer cells that have broken free in other parts of their body. And one of the great advances over the last several decades is the discovery that we can give drugs that can reduce the likelihood that those cells will live and cause problems later on.

There's two kinds of therapy. There's endocrine therapy that blocks the estro (ph) receptor (ph) of the tumor has estrogen receptors in it, and there's chemotherapy that kills dividing cells. And many patients will -- with early breast cancer that's estrogen receptor positive breast cancer and negative lymph nodes, it means the lymph nodes are free of cancer, have been receiving such treatment.

What this study shows is that by taking the tumor and analyzing the DNA, looking for the combined action of 21 genes, we can tell that a very is high percentage of these patients don't need chemotherapy to achieve a very good prognosis. I mean think how wonderful this is. We can look somebody in the eye and say, we've analyzed the tumor. Number one, you have a really good prognosis. Your odds of being cured are terrific. And, number two, you don't need chemotherapy to achieve that. That endocrine therapy alone, which is much milder and easier to take, will accomplish that. So this is just terrific news all around.

[06:55:26] CAMEROTA: Yes. It is. It is terrific news. And it's huge news for women because, obviously, we all know how debilitating chemotherapy treatment can be. But how do women know which one they would be -- which protocol would be best for them if they need chemotherapy now?

NORTON: Well, I want to get back to that. We've made great advances with chemotherapy and it's just not as tough as it used to be by a long shot. And very often we use drugs where you don't have to lose your hair, vomiting is controlled, low blood counts have been dealt with. We don't have that problem anymore. So that it's not as bad as it used to be. And I know people who would benefit from chemotherapy, which is a lot of people, to be afraid of it.

It actually -- one of the really important things about this discovery is that when we analyze the DNA in the tumor we can tell a patient, you do need chemotherapy and the good news is the chemotherapy's going to work really well. As a matter of fact, put those patients again into a category where their odds of being cured are terrific. So I don't want to scare people away from chemotherapy if they need it.

But what happens is, when the surgeon takes the tumor out, we can then take a piece of the tumor -- the pathologist can take a piece of the tumor, send it away for this (INAUDIBLE), it's called the Oncotype DX test, and the results come back and the results tell us, is chemotherapy useful or not? And the really wonderful news here is that if it tells us that the prognosis is terrific and you don't need chemotherapy, that's great. But if it tells us in the minority of cases that the prognosis is not so good, we can actually make it better with chemotherapy, which is nowhere as tough as it used to be. So actually it's good news for all people.

CAMEROTA: There you go. That's a great point.

Now, while I have you, I want to also talk about the new guidelines for colonoscopies. They have shifted --

NORTON: Right.

CAMEROTA: From being recommended at 50 years old to now 45. So, what was -- what's the impetus for this?

NORTON: Yes, what's all that about? Well, actually, we have an explosion of early onset colon cancer, cancer of the colon and cancer of the rectum. The rectum even more so than the colon. And it's actually a big change over the last couple of decades in the incidents of these diseases. We don't know why. There's a lot of research going on trying to figure that out right now, so I don't want to point my finger at any one hypothesis.

But we do know that by doing screenings and screening tests at Memorial Sloan Kettering, that we encourage is colonoscopy, which is the best test. That can really not only make a diagnosis early and help people, but can actually find polyps. And if we take the polyps out, they can't turn cancerous. So it's an extraordinary tool for early diagnosis, but also for cancer prevention.

CAMEROTA: And, very quickly --

NORTON: And now we're shifting it five years earlier because, again, we're seeing a dramatic increase of these kinds of cancers in younger people.

CAMEROTA: And so if a 45-year-old today shows up at a doctor's office to get a colposcopy, has insurance caught up with the new guidelines?

NORTON: Well, I mean, it -- they -- it certainly should and we certainly hope that it will, because it's very important. You think of the economic impact of preventing cancer. That's what this can do, a colonoscopy can do. Not just diagnose it, but prevent it. So the economic impact for the nation and for -- and, of course, for the individual, it could save their life. So we sincerely hope that this is available to everybody.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Larry Norton, thank you very much for helping us all to understand it this morning.

NORTON: My pleasure. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. views, NEW DAY continues right now.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: He has no intention of pardoning himself. It doesn't say he can't.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: There's no way that will happen. If the president were to pardon himself, he'll get impeached.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In that letter, the Trump legal team tried to argue the president could end any investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thereby making it impossible for him to obstruct justice.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He certainly didn't dictate. He weighed in, offered a suggestion, like any father would do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was he so concerned about covering up what had happened? It really shows, I think, a problem with how that legal team is operating.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to put our coal miners back to work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His health care has been paid for by a federal tax on coal mining companies. The tax that's been helping him, it gets cut in half at the end of this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was for the forgotten man and woman. And if this isn't addressed, then that's a bunch of people that are put out (ph).


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: NEW DAY. He just said it. Come on over here.

CAMEROTA: I'm sorry.

BERMAN: We've got to do the whole show thing.

CAMEROTA: I'm still preparing.

BERMAN: James Earl Jones said we have to start.

Good morning.

CAMEROTA: Right. Here I am.

BERMAN: Welcome to your NEW DAY.

The president can kill someone, meddle in any investigation, and pardon himself with impunity. That's a heck of a gig, not to mention a heck of a legal argument. But that's exactly the case being laid out by the president's lawyers.

[07:00:02] In a new interview, Rudy Giuliani says the president could shoot James Comey and not be prosecuted. Of course we should be circumspect about what is being said by the president's lawyers because they now admit that they lied.