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White House Says Eagles Tried to Change Their Commitment; Miss America Axes Swimsuits; Putin Says Talks to Trump Regularly on Phone; Designer Kate Spade Found Dead by Housekeeper. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 5, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: That's where I want to end, George, where you really started, why everyone started talking about this in the first place, why Colin Kaepernick took that knee. I want to end with you talking about why this matters and why you think the White House, at least today, didn't address it?

George Martin, Former NFL Player, NY Giants: We as African-Americans, we have a very visceral response when we see people of color being shot down in the streets, being executed and treated unfairly. As a result of that, we don't want to see that in the America that they are growing up in. Secondly, if the President was really serious about bringing this country together, he himself would authorize a summit of players, owners and coaches and start talking about how we can resolve this together and unify America instead of separating it.

BALDWIN: Thank you, gentlemen. Coming up next, Miss America, ditching the swim suit competition saying it's time to usher in a new event that welcomes all women. We're going to talk about that next.


BALDWIN: Massive changes coming to a 97-year-old tradition. The Miss America pageant, organizers are blowing it up with this major makeover. For one, it's no longer a pageant, it's a competition. And number two, no more swim suit competition. It's gone. They tweeted out this photo with an exploding bathing suit with the #bye-bye bikini. Even the evening gown competition as we know it is changing as well. Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America and now chair of board of trustees says now is the time to showcase how women are empowering others, not necessarily in how they look.


GRETCHEN CARLSON, A FORMER MISS AMERICA: We have always had talent and scholarship, and we need to message that part of the program better as well, but now we're adding in this new caveat that we're not going to judge you on your outward appearance because we're interested in what makes you you. Tell us about your goals and your achievements in life. By the way, at the end of the day, we hand out scholarships to these young women. Every day when I travel in this country, I meet someone who has participated in this program, yourself included, who benefited from the programs and who became lawyers and doctors and members of Congress, and we want more people to know they are welcome in this organization. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: With me now, Kate Miss America 1998, and Mallory Hagan who was crowned Miss America in 2013, ladies thanks for being with me, and Kate, let me start with you. You are on the board. This has been going on for 97 years. May I just say a little amen to this. Do you agree it's the right decision and how did you all come to this?

KATE SHINDLE, MISS AMERICA 1998: I think it's time. It's been an ongoing conversation for quite some time. As you know, the current board took over the organization in I think it was January 1st actually. We've been talking about how we can make substantive changes that reinforce relevance to not only today's viewers and contestants but the next generation's viewers and contestants. I mean it just seemed like the time had come.

Obviously, I'm just speaking for myself, I can't tell you what happens in a board meeting. It's strange to be on the one hand to be talking about empowering women, and giving them scholarships, and on the other and giving them a number score for how they looked in a swim suit. They tried in the past to call it a fitness competition but it's more of an aesthetic competition. This is a little piece of a bigger picture. I think it will ultimately prove to age pretty well.

BALDWIN: I'm wondering too, Mallory, just listening to Gretchen Carlson speaking out this morning, she said this will be a competition and not a pageant. Should we retire the word pageant or is that over or not yet?

MALLORY HAGAN, MISS AMERICA 2013: You know, I don't care what we call it to be honest. What I care about it s messaging what Miss America does on a daily basis. And a lot of people don't realize that contractually Miss America can't even put on a swimsuit throughout her year. It seems silly to make a woman wear a swim suit on stage for a job and not allow her wear a swim suit for her job.

BALDWIN: What do you mean not allow her? As she is out promoting whatever issue she is passionate about, she's not wearing a string bikini?

HAGAN: She's not allowed to wear one at all. She's not allowed to appear in any modelling sense at all, even when I was Miss America on my day off in Hawaii, I posted a picture of myself on the beach in a swim suit and I was asked to take it down.


HAGAN: Throughout the year, and we are telling people another thing during the telecast, just didn't match.

BALDWIN: I had no idea.

SHINDLE: It's been a contractual provision for a while. I think the organization has been trying to hold on to the tradition, which the volunteers really love but advance the image of Miss America. At a certain point, you just can't have it both ways.

BALDWIN: You've heard from as a board member, you've heard from women who have won and they're beautiful women. And they're even for the most part saying to you, thank you?

SHINDLE: Yes. I sent out an e-mail early this morning to as many of the last 25 years of preliminary swim suit winners at Miss America as I could get contact information for and just letting them know that we value you, it doesn't mean that we don't think you have brains, we value this tradition but it just time to do something new. I got a couple e-mails back that were so striking.

One of them was like "praise the lord." She said when she won the swim suit at Miss America, she was immediately asked how much she weighed and she was mortified. I heard from another swim suit winner who said she was doing happy dance in tears. These are women who have been successful in that competition and even many of them realize it's time to move on.

BALDWIN: You ladies are beautiful. I'm all about strong and sexy but I think there are other ways to show empowerment.

[15:40:00] Mallory, I know the me-too movement played a role and the Miss America Organization is now led entirely by women for the first time. How do you think that changes up the competition and this notion of really embracing and empowering women?

HAGAN: I hope it lets a group of young women who may have been questioning whether they wanted to participate in miss America because of the swim suit, we want them to know we're about doing good, creating change for a cause they're passionate about. I hope they'll see miss America in a new light and earn scholarships along the way.

BALDWIN: Mallory, we should mention you are running for office. Just quickly how is that -- in Alabama. Best of luck to you. Unprecedented number of women running. Best of luck. We'll follow your story. Mallory, thank you and also Kate, thanks to you as well.

Coming up next here on CNN, Russian President Vladimir Putin says he speaks to President Trump regularly on the phone. Details on his wide-ranging interview and why he's so often spotted not wearing a shirt.


BALDWIN: Russian President Vladimir Putin has just revealed that he and President Trump talk regularly, his words. He made the statement during an interview with an Austrian news outlet when he was asked about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's February indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA, (through translator): Indeed, Donald Trump and I have met more than once at various international venues, and secondly, we regularly talk over the phone. Our foreign affairs department and special services are working fairly well together in areas of mutual interest.


BALDWIN: Matthew Chance is our senior CNN international correspondent and Jill Dougherty, fellow for the Woodrow Wilson Center. Good to have both of you on. Matthew, you first. What's the sentiment, just among Russians about this regular talking between Putin and Trump?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a good question. And I think given that Russians watch state media as the primary source of their news, they'll pretty much follow the Kremlin's sense of disappointment in the Trump administration. Before Trump came to office and in the first few weeks of his presidency or months even, there was this massive sense of optimism in Russia that this was a turning point in the difficult, fractious relationship between Moscow and Washington. Of course, that didn't happen. Trump found his hands tied by the various congressional inquiries into the allegations of collusion and he hasn't been able to deliver that better relationship that he promised, and Russians expected. I think there's an overwhelming sense of disappointment that Trump has not been able to deliver to Russia what they thought he was going to deliver.

BALDWIN: Jill, does it surprise you that they talk regularly on the phone?

JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: When you say, yes, they talk regularly, it does sound a little counterintuitive for Americans. But they do and in fact I noted that President Putin referred to the President of the United States as Donald. That's nice. I think it's really important to watch what Vladimir Putin is doing. This is his trip to Austria.

This is his very first trip since becoming elected again, probably for the last time. And he's got three great things and he goes to Austria, they have a coalition government and part of that, this far right freedom party wants to get rid of sanctions. So, score one. That's something that President Putin can get in there and increase that wedge on sanctions. Then not to get too specific but there's the gas pipeline that Russia wants to build to Germany and Austria supports that. And then number three, he had the chancellor calling Russia a super power. Used to be a super power according to everyone else. But now it's back on the stage.

[15:50:00] I think all of these little decorations of the relationship and everything, Vladimir Putin is not going to say, yes, we will meet next week because he knows that it's not predictable what will happen next week with President Trump. So, I think -- because I think the Trump administration and President Trump use meetings like this in a kind of bargaining way. Look what's happening with North Korea. Remember it was on, it was off, it was on. And he could do the same thing with Vladimir Putin.

Although I don't think he would at all. But Putin is pretty smart. And I think Putin has the message, yes, we have a good relationship, we are hopeful and maybe we'll meet, but he's not tying himself down to anything.

BALDWIN: So, there is -- Jill touched on so much of the substance and then there is this part of it, Matthew. You know where I'm going. Let me play this nugget of this interview on why Putin likes to show so much skin. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, (through translator): Then my last question, perhaps a little unusual, there are many photos of you half naked, which is rather unusual for a head of state. These photos were not taken by paparazzi or tourists, they were published by the Kremlin. What is the story behind these photos?

PUTIN: You said half naked. Not naked, thank god. When I'm on vacation, I see no need to hide behind the bushes and there is nothing wrong with that.


BALDWIN: Matthew Chance, I don't even know what to say. Hide behind the bushes.

CHANCE: You wanted the fully naked ones. I know that. But these pictures are -- they are extraordinary and as that interviewer said, these aren't pictures taken by the paparazzi catching him in an unguarded moment. They are put out as official photograph by the Kremlin. And that said a lot about what they need. They are -- they -- in Russia you often see in the countryside or even in the parks on a public, men take their shirts off and they hang out and go fishing.

It is sort of a -- ordinary guy thing to do in this country. But by putting out the images, Putin is saying they made up these trappings of presidency around me but I'm still very much one of you, an ordinary Russian guy. And that image works -- it works very well for him, I think.

BALDWIN: Extraordinary is one way to put it. Matthew Chance, Jill Dougherty, thank you. Quick break. We're back after this.


BALDWIN: Shock and grief in the world of fashion as one of the industry's brightest lights passes away. Kate Spade has been found dead at her park avenue apartment here in New York City. A police source tells CNN her housekeeper found her hanged by a red scarf in a suicide. The suicide note was found at the scene. And social media has been just inundated with tributes. The 55-year-old was one of the first of the powerful group of female designers emerged back in the '90s launching a collection of clothing and including the Kate Spade bags. So, with me now, fashion journalist Joe Zee. And you met her and worked with her at one point. Can you tell me what that was like and tell me about her?

JOE ZEE, FASHION JOURNALIST: Oh, absolutely. I started as an assistant in the fashion industry in 1992 and Kate was filling as an accessory editor back then, so this is pre these days and I remember sitting down with her, she had a great ray of light about her. She was so jovial and said to me, I'm thinking of starting a hand bag line. And this is not something anyone did back then in the early 90s and to quit a coveted magazine editor job to be able to do that, for me it was just -- it was so visionary and so ahead of the time.

BALDWIN: I remember -- I was in college and it was sort of like late '90s and having my mom buy me my first Kate Spade which I said before, it was like a piece of art and a fancy bag and to think of what she was able to do as this woman, as you point out in the '90s, she paved the way for female lifestyle designers.

ZEE: Oh, she absolutely did. I think what was so inspirational about Kate was not just her design acumen but her business acumen that she knew how to build a empire and you have to keep in mind that --

BALDWIN: Out of her apartment, right?

ZEE: Out of her apartment. And she launched the six handbag styles and that's it. Six bags and it took off overnight. And have to say, she was the person that paved the way for creating the sort of coveting accessible bag because there were handbags nobody could afford, and Hermes and Chanel and she created a hand bag that everybody wanted and could buy and that is a new thing in fashion.

[16:00:00] BALDWIN: And as a woman, what was she like?

ZEE: She was inspirational and motivating and a mentor to people and always about giving back and paying it forward and she was so eclectic, but she stuck to her views. In the world of fashion, you could follow a lot of trends and she did what she believed in and I think you saw that at the very beginning, she went to launch a hand bag line whether people were not launching handbag lines and he stuck to her guns and did what she believed in and saw it through and that is very -- not common, I have to say, sometimes in the world of fashion.

BALDWIN: She leaves behind a husband and a 13-year-old daughter. And just in the last 30 seconds, her husband, Jake Spade.

ZEE: He was just the name of the men's collection.

BALDWIN: But Andy is the husband.

ZEE: Yes.

BALDWIN: Got it. Joe zee, thank you for coming on and talking about KATE SPADE and so many tributes pouring in on social media and people are pass ago long the suicide prevention number as she it appears hanged herself and that investigation has just begun. Joe, thank you so much for being with me. I appreciate hearing your voice and memories. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. To Washington, "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.