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Report: U.S. Service Member Killed in Somalia; CNN's Bourdain Dead At 61; House Dems as Justice Department to Investigate Scott Pruitt; CNN Hero Builds A Bridge in Kenya. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired June 8, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Four other service members wounded when their unit came under attack from unknown insurgents in Somalia. The four wounded have been med-evaced out. They were working with local forces in the region of Somalia. It will bring up questions again about U.S. troops operating in remote areas of Africa, especially after four were killed in Niger in the person part of Africa.
This is an area of very heavy insurgent activity. U.S. troops have been there helping fight against that Al Qaeda affiliate known as Al- Shabaab. A U.S. Navy Seal killed in Somalia also last year. The pentagon trying to put together at this hour an official statement, trying to get word obviously to these American military families today about what has occurred. Erica?
ERIKA HILL, CNN HOST: Barbara, I appreciate it. Thank you.
It has been a painful day for many of us here at CNN. Like you, we started our day with tough news, the death of Anthony Bourdain, a chef, a world traveler, an inspiration to so many. We honor his life, his passion and his love of adventure next. Stay with us.
[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HILL: It is a tough day for a lot of people. You didn't have to know Anthony Bourdain to feel truly saddened and gutted and out of words. The host of CNN's "Parts Unknown" has died. He took his own life at a hotel in France where he was shooting the latest episode of his award- winning show. He was an incredibly gifted chef, he was an equally masterful storyteller, a fearless traveler, a restless spirit, he broke boundaries and brought an unmistakable soul to CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You went to a market where they sold a whole pig, right?
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST WHO TOOK OWN LIFE: All great cultures eventually arrive at the same place, they roast a pig or a lamb whole. They would dig a hole and throw a pig or lamb in. People gathered around with a dead animal eating it.
COOPER: Did you have an apple in its mouth?
BOURDAIN: It had a hat on. I don't know but had a Cuban cigar, but I believe it did.
BARAK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Is it appropriate to just pop one of these whole suckers in in your mouth or do you think that you should be a little more --
BOURDAIN: Well, slurping is totally acceptable in this part of the world.
I try to pace myself. A rule of thumb we all follow on the crew is if the local people are eating it and a lot of them are eating it, meaning if it's a street stall, it doesn't look particularly hygienic, and it's packed with people and all of them eating something unidentifiable, we will eat that, and we'll eat it with gusto and chances are it will be good and there will be no payback. Cheers.
COOPER: Cheers. How did you not get any stuff all over your face?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: The Smithsonian once called him the Elvis of bad boy chefs. He may have been a bad boy, but he was a good man. He pursued authenticity about the world around him and about himself. He was candid about his own struggles around addiction. Perhaps because of his humble beginnings, hustling for work and washing dishes, he was also an advocate for marginalized communities.
He dined with dignitaries, he drunkenly got tattoos. Tony was 61. His death comes as a complete shock to his family and friend and he leaves behind his 11-year-old daughter. I want to bring with us with Carla Hall, a chef who knew Tony, co-host of ABC's "The Chew."
I know Tony joined you many times, this was a tough way for so many people to start their day, you tweeted you were gutted. When you think about Tony, though, and it brings a smile to your face, what are those thoughts, those moments that I imagine you're focusing on now?
CARLA HALL, HOST OF ABC's "THE CHEW": When I was listening to the clip, I think about he was just an incredible storyteller. He reminded us that food is the one place where you allow people to be different and you accept those differences and you go all in with those differences and you tell stories and you sit around and you're eating and you're all the same.
HILL: I was speaking with another chef earlier who said in terms of picking up on what you said that reminding us that people are different and this chef said to me in reading his book "Kitchen Confidential" years ago, he felt it gave him the license to be who he was and be different and be a part of that restaurant culture.
HILL: How important was Anthony Bourdain in that respect in terms of giving people a license to be themselves.
[15:40:00] HALL: I think when it comes to food, you can't homogenize everyone. By going into the world and showing different cultures, even in the kitchen, it's like be who you are because this the thing you have to share with other people. You don't need to be like everyone else. And he was doggedly just, you know, when he felt like you were sort of giving in and becoming just ordinary and the same, he talked about you. He was like you had three hours to make this crap?
And you are like, Oh, Dang, thank you for calling me out on that. I think he was a type of person because you knew he was authentic and brutally honest and he didn't sugarcoat the truth, whatever I got from Tony Bourdain it was a truth that I could hang my hat on that. If it was something bad you knew you had a place to go to get better. And if it was something good you are like great that I have to work to stay there.
HILL: He was brutally honest, but it wasn't mean-spirited.
HILL: And I think that's the real important distinction.
HALL: It wasn't mean-spirited, and you grew. I always said on "Top Chef" if you were on the bottom you got feedback. If you were on the top you got feedback. When you are on the middle you get nothing because there is no one telling you how to get better.
So, the thing is Tony was passionate about what he believed in and I think you always felt that passion. Whether he was talking about you getting better or whatever you were doing it was at passion. You are like you know what, you're right. You're very passionate. When he would come on "The Chew", he came on "The Chew" twice as guest. And I think the funny thing about Tony even know he was an incredible storyteller and he was really funny.
There was a part of him that was a little shy. So, it is interesting to see him in that light. And the way he talked about his daughter was just so tender and gentle as a dad.
HILL: And that is, I think that really gives you insight into who a person is. Becoming a parent is indescribable, until you become a parent and fully describe and embrace it and the way he would talk about his daughter and the impact of becoming a father had on him, that was really profound.
HALL: Mm-hmm. I mean, to become a father at 50 and when I think he said, you know, that's at the point where he felt like he was old enough to be a dad. It really wasn't about the age, it was about what he felt to be that great dad. And you look at pictures and you see him on Instagram with just his hand and his daughter's hand on his and it's a beautiful picture. That's who tony was. He was a very passionate, heartfelt man.
HILL: That is a beautiful way to remember him. Carla Hall, I really appreciate your time to share some of your memories with us today. Thank you.
HALL: Thank you so much. HILL: Also joining us is Dr. Shairi Turner, the chief medical
officer with Crisis Text Line. We're talking to because we can't ignore there is a really important mental health aspect to this. We know that tony took his own life. He is the second well-known person we've seen this week after the death of Kate Spade. And all of this coming on the heels of new numbers from the CDC about the rise in suicides in this country. What are we missing from this conversation, doctor?
DR. SHAIRI TURNER, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER WITH CRISIS TEXT LINE: Well, first of all, our condolences to both the Spade and the Bourdain families. These are tragedies that just ripple through communities and the nation. So, what are we missing? Potentially we're missing the ability to have the conversation, the ability for someone to reach out to a friend, to reach out to a family member and say I see yourself not yourself, I see that you're sad or that your behavior has changed, is there anything wrong? Is there anything I can do? Are you feeling like you're going to hurt yourself? I believe people feel afraid to open that door and ask that question, whether someone is feeling like they're going to kill themselves. Often times in asking that question and opening the door for the conversation, you allow somebody to be vulnerable and say yes, I need help. And you can partner with them to help them get resources or services they need.
[15:45:00] HILL: I know that men have three to five-time higher rates of suicide and the highest increase seen through 2016 was among middle-aged adults. Is part of this tied back stigma that you have, especially if you're a man, that makes you weak, which we immediate to get away from?
TURNER: We definitely do. Mental illness can affect people of all ages. We need to move past thinking that someone has to be strong or that seeking the resources of a therapist or a psychiatrist exemplifies weakness or an inability to take care of yourself or your family. We are losing people because they do not feel comfortable reaching out for necessary help. And I think in people who are middle aged are feeling at that -- that they should be in a certain place in their lives and shouldn't need assistance, perhaps, or they're reflecting back on their life or what could have been or what they might have wanted to accomplish. But the point is at any age resources and services are available.
HILL: And it so important, as you said, too, if you see any of these signs, we just had some up on the screen there for us not to be able to ask the question if we're concerned about someone. Doctor, I appreciate you joining us and everything that you're doing there at crisis text line as well. I hope you've seen for our viewers at home the number on the screen there. It is so important. Write this down. It easy to find online. Help is available 24 hours a day. If you need it, if someone you know needs it, as we just heard, don't be afraid to ask the question, to reach out. You can save a life.
We are going to continue to remember our friend and colleague, to celebrate the life of Anthony Bourdain. This evening we are sharing his talent, we're sharing his stories. Please tune in to a special tribute on CNN. It airs tonight at 10 p.m. eastern right here on CNN. We'll be right back.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HILL: Moments ago, House Democrats sending a letter to the FBI and the Justice Department asking for a criminal investigation into EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt saying he has used his public office for personal gain. New reports this week alone show Pruitt asked a security detail to get his dry cleaning and to look for a specific moisturizing lotion. That he would make staffers fetch protein bars and his Greek yogurt, and that he's taking advantage of the White House mess hall.
Just to remind you here these are some of the controversies, but that list is rather lengthy. President Trump when asked about all of this and his support, here's what he said earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Scott Pruitt is doing a great job within the walls of the EPA. We are setting records. Outside he is being attacked very viciously by the press and I am not saying that he is blameless, but we will see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Joining me now to discuss is CNN political analyst Brian Karem and staff writer for the Atlantic Elaina Plott, we look at all of this, the president says, look, I'm not saying he's blameless, but Brian and taking a look at this new letter from House Democrats, what is your take here?
BRIAN KAREM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, Scott Pruitt is there at the president's whim, and he is there with a mission, that mission is to tear down and destroy the EPA as we know and love it. So, the president is quite happy with what Scott Pruitt is doing no matter how many used mattresses, ringside seats, lotion, putting lotions in the bag, look, the guys like a Quentin Tarantino character out of a movie. But he's not going anywhere because the president likes what he's doing. And it's going to take something like a criminal investigation to get him out of office. And even then, I don't know if that will happen, maybe he will pardon him too. I'm looking for the president to next offer a pardon to Tony Soprano. But honestly the guys there and he's going to stay there as long as the president wants him there.
HILL: And that is a fair point because the next question is how does he still have a job but Elena, that is why because the president is happy with what he's doing in terms of his work.
ELAINA PLOTT, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": Exactly. And I think one thing that I think is really important to stress when talking about Scott Pruitt, the other day I reported that Millan Hupp resigned after her name being caught up in the headlines about being tasked to call about the used mattress and all of the ridiculous things and yet ultimately, she's the one who feels she needs to resign. So, I think what gets lost in the conversation about Scott Pruitt staying on and how the president seems unwilling to let him go at any inclination whatsoever, is that people below him, young political professionals are having careers marked by him and potentially long-term damaging ways.
KAREM: And destroyed by him. And as I said, that is also -- the big point -- we get caught up in the minutia or side bar or side show of the event, but don't misunderstand. This president has an agenda and he's doing it with Pruitt and with the other -- with Betsy Devos and others. They came in with a plan. Their plan is to deconstruct the federal government and that is what they are doing. And the president -- so he's quite happy with what Scott Pruitt is doing and people I know that have been in the EPA for 20, 30 years are scared to death when this administration is over with, so will the EPA be.
HILL: This is a letter that we're talking about from House Democrats. Is there a sense this is going to have an impact and would push forward an investigation?
PLOTT: Honestly, I don't get that sense at all. Even if there is an investigation we've seen the IG probe, multiple scandals, over 12 I think it is, and we've gotten results such as the IG is saying that Scott Pruitt broke the law for instance when he installed a $43,000 sound proof booth in his office and yet we've seen nothing come of that, so I'm not particularly optimistic this will lead to anything punitive.
KAREM: I think they'll have to drag him away in chains before anything would happen and even then, he'll just get a pardon.
[15:55:00] HILL: Well we'll look to see what else happens next week in the world of development. But I appreciate you both joining us here.
Stay with us. We'll be right back after this short break.
[16:00:00] HILL: We introduce you to a lot of CNN heroes, but they not help others, they help each other.
Kakenya Ntaiya educates girls in rural Kenya. When her village was threatened by a problem that she couldn't solve, it was another CNN hero, Harmon Parker, who stepped in.
HARMON PARKER, CNN HERO: Many people do not understand how many people suffer in isolated regions from dangerous rivers. Children drown.
Kakenya asked me to build a bridge for the community so that children could go to school safely.
KAKENYA NTAIYA, CNN HERO: We are officially opening the bridge and the community came together. They were celebrating knowing this is bringing a change and their way of saying thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: To see how village elders decided to honor Harmon or nominate someone you know as a CNN hero, log on to CNN heros.com.
Today we're remembering our friend and colleague Anthony Bourdain, this evening we're sharing more of his talent and stories and a CNN special tribute. We also want to raise awareness that there is help there if you need it. You could even text it. Just text to 741, 741 in the United States. Remembering Anthony Bourdain airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern on CNN. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.