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CNN's Anthony Bourdain Dead At 61; Top Senate Staffer Arrested In Leak Probe; Trump Administration Tells Court It Won't Defend Key Provisions Of ACA; Democratic Lawmakers Say President Trump Is In Violation Of Emoluments Clause; NASA'S Curiosity Rover Finds Organic Matter On Mars. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 8, 2018 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT, HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": -- 1-800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And I just want to say there are dark days in every person's life, you know? There are dark days where you feel hopeless. There are dark weeks and months. But it can lift, you know -- it can lift.

And the idea that these suicide rates have gone up so exponentially is -- tells you that there is a feeling of hopelessness but with medication, with therapy, with time, it can lift.

And I just want people to know -- I mean, particularly after the Kate Spade episode and now, Anthony Bourdain, two people who were beloved. Two people who the world knew their work.

You know, call this hotline. Call the hotline if you need help. Reach out to your friends and your family if you need help.

You don't have to suffer in silence. You don't have to have shame that you're depressed. It's so common. It's so -- depression is so common and there are things that allow the cloud to lift.

And the idea that suicide is going up -- we have it particularly among the military -- we cover this -- we have to get our arms around this.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have to remove the stigma of talking about it on both sides. Call that hotline. Do not be afraid.

You know, and sometimes -- you look at Kate Spade, you look at Anthony -- who could have a better life than Anthony? He gets to travel the world.

CAMEROTA: Right, and people think that success is some sort of antidote against depression. It's not.

They think well, they're successful. How could they be depressed? They have everything in life.

There's something chemical, there's sometimes something situational, and there's just sadness, and that's a part of the human condition. Anthony Bourdain, of course, knew that. He talked about that.

And so, it can change. All of those things can change with help.

BERMAN: Let me -- let me play a little more of Anthony so you can hear his remarkable voice.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST, CNN "ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN: The engine of television on the creative side was always do what worked last week, which is exactly the opposite of what interests me, which is to never repeat --


BOURDAIN: -- what I did last week whether people liked it or not. But I'm kind of a freak in the business.


CAMEROTA: And, Brian, just tell us again what news you have now of Anthony Bourdain's death.

STELTER: We learned of this a few minutes ago and we waited until his family and daughter -- he has a teenaged daughter -- we waited until they were notified. He was found dead this morning in his hotel room in Strasbourg, France.

He was working on an upcoming episode of "PARTS UNKNOWN" so he was with his production crew and that's how we learned about his death. And this was a death by hanging, so we can report that he did take his own life.

CAMEROTA: It's so shocking. I mean, it's just -- it just shakes you to the core not only if you know him personally as we did, but people felt as though they knew him because talk about authentic. People -- you know, obviously, that's what pops through the screen as we're always told and Anthony Bourdain was exactly as you saw him on his show. He was exactly like that.

He was -- I think he was no-nonsense, he didn't suffer fools. He didn't really want to make sort of idle chitchat or small talk.


CAMEROTA: He wanted to talk about the big issues. He wanted to talk about the big issues of life, the places that he loved. He was passionate when he loved something.

And, I mean, I just -- I'm tempted to just sort of stop and call all of my friends because I know that my mom and my friends loved him so much and loved his show. It was appointment viewing for people.

BERMAN: People enjoyed living life through him --

STELTER: Through him. BERMAN: -- at some moments. And only someone as big as he was, in some ways, could basically take the world along with him to see what he saw, and to learn what he learned, and to ask what he asked.

And like I said, he admitted he was a walking contradiction. He loved, he felt -- he just felt so deeply.

STELTER: He could be so intimidating sometimes, I think even to some staffers here who would want to meet him and want to go up and shake his hand. He was a -- he was a striking presence.

I think I used to be intimidated by him, too, but then I remember when one of my mentors died that he knew, the bear hug that he gave me that day. It's that -- it's that warmth he had as well as the no-nonsense attitude you're describing.

He was an incredible human being.

BERMAN: All right. The news is Anthony Bourdain, our friend, has died -- 61 years old.

CAMEROTA: I want to put up the National Suicide Hotline again -- 1- 800-273-8255. Please take a note of that if need be.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.


[07:37:36] BERMAN: A longtime Senate aide arrested for lying to FBI agents in a leak investigation. The Justice Department has revealed it seized years' worth of a "New York Times" reporter's e-mails and phone records as part of the investigation.

Joining us to discuss all that and more, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. He is on the Judiciary Committee.

Senator, thanks very much for being with us. We do appreciate you being here.


BERMAN: This leak investigation is very interesting. This is a staffer who worked on the Senate Intelligence Committee and allegedly passed on information actually having to do with the investigation of Carter Page here.

At first blush, what's your reaction to this?

BLUMENTHAL: Let me just say, first of all, that my sympathies go to the family of Anthony Bourdain and the CNN family.

And thank you for talking so openly and honestly about the scourge of suicide which affects 20 veterans every day in this great country, still. Twenty veterans, every day, take their own lives. And I just want to express my thanks.

BERMAN: Thank you for that. We're all struggling to get through it and make sense of it this morning, so thank you.

BLUMENTHAL: These charges against James Wolfe, a staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee for 30 years, are extraordinarily serious and troubling. They involve leaks of classified information, potentially involving the Russia probe to reporters -- three, possibly more, including a "New York Times" reporter.

The records of that "Times" reporter were seized in the course of the FBI investigation which also is troubling because there are procedures that provide seizure of reporter records -- here, e-mails and phone records -- only as a last resort, only after certain threshold standards are met, and only after notification to the reporter.

Whether those procedures were followed here is a big question.

BERMAN: So where's the line here because you raise the question that we, as journalists, always ask here. Look, our job is to get as much information as we possibly can about things that are important to the American people and they care about. Obviously, the Russia investigation is one of them.

So from where we sit, we think it's an intrusion when people come after our records here. They say it's the last resort.

How do you prove that?

BLUMENTHAL: It is an intrusion and it can have a chilling effect on reporting. And that's the reason that as a one-time reporter as well as a prosecutor, I'm very sensitive to drawing a line and striking a balance in a way that preserves First Amendment freedoms, which includes reporting accurately and fully what's happening in the world and using leaks when it involves information useful to the public.

[07:40:17] But we're talking about classified information and sometimes, release of that information actually can put people's lives in danger, sources and methods may be jeopardized, and that's why the FBI began this investigation.

But, very clearly, seizure of reporters' records have to be an ultimate last resort. Other means of obtaining the information have to be explored first under these procedures and the approval of any sort of seizure of these records -- in this case from Google and Verizon -- have to be approved at the highest level.

And I want to know whether those standards and procedures were followed.

BERMAN: Yes, so do we.

Look, another development overnight is the administration, in a pretty remarkable move, has said it will no longer defend in court certain provisions of Obamacare, and one of them is preexisting conditions. The right that people with preexisting conditions have the right to the same price and dollar figure of their coverage as other people.

This is something the president had said during the campaign and as president that he would protect. This is just a reminder of some of the things the president has said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Preexisting conditions are in the bill and I mandated -- I said it has to be. But when I watch some of the news reports, which are so unfair, and they say we don't cover preexisting conditions, we cover it beautifully.

I'll tell you who doesn't cover preexisting conditions -- Obamacare. You know why? It's dead.


BERMAN: Well, it may very well be soon, by the way, if these lawsuits go forward and that could take some time there.

What is your concern for people with preexisting conditions?

BLUMENTHAL: Let me say as a former attorney general, one of my principal areas of activity was to protect people against the misuse of these preexisting condition provisions in insurance policies. We went to bat for people.

We advocated for them when insurance companies said no because they'd had a headache some years previously and now, had a brain tumor and the insurance companies refused to cover it.

These kinds of abuses were absolutely reprehensible and so is the administration's refusal to defend this protection against the misuse of those preexisting condition provisions in insurance policies. I think it is extremely misguided as a matter of public policy and morally unconscionable.

BERMAN: Well, we'll see where it goes because preexisting conditions protection is for people with them or actually something that has been universally popular. So we'll see where this heads in court and then, politically.

You are involved in a very interesting court case right now that has to do with emoluments. These are gifts for payments to the president right now. And you have your name on a lawsuit.

Explain to me what you're trying to do here.

BLUMENTHAL: In this lawsuit, Blumenthal versus Trump, I've been joined by about 200 of my colleagues in seeking to enforce the chief anti-corruption provision of the United States Constitution.

It is called the emoluments clause and it prohibits the President of the United States from taking gifts, payments or benefits from foreign countries, which this president has been doing repeatedly and flagrantly. We know the tip of the iceberg from press reporting. The president has never divulged or disclosed any of it.

And our contention to the court is we can't do our job as members of the United States Congress unless the president comes to us for consent. Why? Because the emoluments clause says very clearly and specifically the President of the United States and any other official of the federal government must come to the Congress before he or she accepts any payment, benefit or gift from a foreign power.

And clearly, across the board, President Trump at Trump Tower, at the Trump hotel, in his resorts and developments around the world in Indonesia and India, and the Chinese loan that was provided, has been taking gifts and payments.

We only know the tip of the iceberg.

BERMAN: Very quickly because we have to let you go here, but is this case going anywhere? Any indication that the courts are going to listen to this?

BLUMENTHAL: I was very encouraged -- in fact, excited by the hearing yesterday because the judge, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the United States District Court in Washington, D.C., was asking all the right questions. He clearly understands the case.

I never predict outcomes as a trial lawyer but I am very hopeful that we will hold the president accountable for violating this national security and corruption protection law.

[07:45:04] BERMAN: Keep us posted on the case.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, thank you for being here. Thank you for your words on Anthony Bourdain. I really appreciate it -- Alisyn.


As you know, we've just received shocking news that our friend and colleague Anthony Bourdain has died. So we will talk about him, we'll talk about what he was doing, and about his legacy with someone who knew him. Neil deGrasse Tyson is here with us, next.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: We are following some very sad breaking news for you. World-renowned chef, best-selling author, and award-winning host of CNN's "PARTS UNKNOWN," Anthony Bourdain, our friend, has died.

For the last five years on CNN, Tony traveled across the globe doing what he loved most. He uncovered little-known places, he explored food, and he celebrated diverse cultures through food.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted this picture of himself with Tony and wrote this message. "A friend of StarTalk radio, a friend of food and culture, a friend to us all. Anthony Bourdain, rest in peace."

And, Neil deGrasse Tyson joins us now.

I'm sorry that you had to hear this news when you got here.


You know, I think a lot about just the universe and our curiosity manifested within it. And here is NASA and all of us collectively investing in a search for life on Mars and we know implicitly if not explicitly that life is something precious and wherever you find it you cherish it and nurture it.

So when we lose a life, particularly one that is lost tragically and not sort of by natural causes, especially for me but certainly for everyone it hits that much more deeply because of so much effort that I know we spend in the search for life in the universe. And so -- but at least we got to share this universe with him.

He was on your show twice?

TYSON: Yes, yes, several times -- yes.

And he was a friend of the show and we'd talk about the science of food and the relationship between culture and what foods you would eat or have the likelihood of eating, depending on where you were. What latitude you are on earth affects what kind of foods you prefer. How much spice is in it and how much isn't.

And so that's -- so the nature of how we interact with our guests. They're hardly ever scientists, as guests, and so that gave me the opportunity to -- gave us the opportunity to experience his life.

He has quite a profile. I mean, if those who don't -- those who only know him from the CNN show, you've got to dig a little deeper and you find out what his origin story is, to use a superhero reference. His origin story makes you that much more appreciative of --

CAMEROTA: And what -- well, I mean -- I mean, we know that just from his books and from -- because he was honest and authentic on his show that he struggled with heroin in the past --

[07:50:03] TYSON: Yes, yes.

CAMEROTA: -- drug use. But what else struck you about his origin story?

TYSON: Well -- yes, so many people struggle with drug use and heroin and -- or of any kind of drugs and don't come out of it, right? And so, he rose up out of that. I mean, he was cleaning dishes in a restaurant and --

CAMEROTA: I think in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

TYSON: OK, yes.

CAMEROTA: That's one of his favorite stories.

TYSON: Right, right, right. And so, the fact that that's almost a purely American story that you can start out that way. That can have these curveballs thrown at you in life, yet still, rise up and overcome that and make something of your own life. But not only that, touch the lives of others in the way that he has.

And like you said, and it can't be overemphasized, he has a level of authenticity that you don't commonly get with people on T.V. They've got a facade. They're this is my T.V. personality and then outside they're whatever else. He was, through and through, authentic and that's -- you knew that watching him, yes.

CAMEROTA: I know just what you mean about that with T.V. people and how Anthony broke the mold.


CAMEROTA: And he was a philosopher, you know. He was a food philosopher. I mean, he was -- that was the vehicle through which he shared his philosophy with everybody on T.V. and I --

TYSON: And by the way, it wasn't -- it wasn't highfaluting philosophy. It was deep street philosophy, right? It's this is what the food is, this is what it means, and this is why. And it's that kind of street philosopher that actually touches us all and not just the academic philosopher who might speak in ways and you say, what?

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, he was -- he was just as comfortable, I mean, on his show dealing with folks in West Virginia and talking to them about their culture as he was to far-flung places that some of us had never heard of in remote Africa or Asia.

And the idea that you were supposed to be coming on here to talk about life on Mars, if Anthony Bourdain could have gone to Mars and done a show from there he would have. He would have loved to have explored that.

TYSON: Yes. I'd have to advise him how to -- the cooking parameters would be different in the thin atmosphere of Mars. But he surely -- no, what he would do if we found life on Mars he would go there and find out what kind of food it's eating.

CAMEROTA: That's right.

TYSON: Right.

CAMEROTA: Yes, exactly. I mean --

TYSON: That would be definitely parts unknown -- parts yet to be discovered.

CAMEROTA: And I'm not kidding. I mean, he was all about the unknown frontier -- TYSON: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- and wanting to go there and bring it back to us. And that idea -- I mean, he and I talked about this after his West Virginia segment about how we're all more common and we share a lot more than divides us. But we don't know that in this particular climate that we're all living through but that we all, at the end of the day, have some of the same values.

TYSON: And one of the great common denominators of us all is that we all sit around a table and eat and that is something sort of uniquely -- the table setting where everyone interacts over the table, that's a -- that's a human thing. And no one -- well, of course, at Thanksgiving we all fight over the dinner table but nonetheless food brings us together --

CAMEROTA: Yes, it does.

TYSON: -- more than it divides us.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it does.


CAMEROTA: So, is there life on Mars?

TYSON: Well, so the recent findings by NASA just announced yesterday --


TYSON: -- and published in "Science" magazine reveal that there's a whole cocktail of organic molecules -- molecules that contain carbon that are in one place at a concentration 100 times that of other places on Mars.

And this is -- it's called the Gale crater where there was once standing water that has all evaporated. When you have evaporated -- when you have a lake bed where there used to be water, the base of that lake is sediment -- is sediments. And so you can go in and see well, what got laid down there and then sort of trapped and preserved.

And so, the Curiosity rover went into one of these rocks and drilled two inches in to get pristine material left over from this lake bed and --

CAMEROTA: And what did it find? Little, teeny organisms?

TYSON: Well, no, not organisms. No, no, no, no, no. Martians -- no --

CAMEROTA: This is the danger of doing this segment where I announce the headline of life on Mars.

TYSON: It's -- they're step-by-step. We were convinced that there was once water on Mars -- CAMEROTA: Yes.

TYSON: -- liquid water -- liquid -- there's all evidence of there having once been meandering riverbeds, and river deltas, and floodplains, and lakes. No water there today. But, water on earth tells us there is life anywhere on earth we find liquid water, so that's tantalizing.

Then we find organic elements. Then we find organic molecules.

And so these -- each one of these steps makes it that much more tantalizing that Mars once had life. And if it did, then that whole other biogenesis -- you can say wow, if there's life on Mars our next neighbor planet, then perhaps the universe is teeming with life and we are not alone in the universe.

[07:55:04] CAMEROTA: On that note, Neil deGrasse Tyson, thank you for being here. Thanks for sharing your relationship with Tony Bourdain.

TYSON: We will all miss him, for sure.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.


CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.


CAMEROTA: Also, Neil has a book that we want to mention, "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry." I love it. That is exactly the way to market all of this, Neil, to all of us and it's a great book.

TYSON: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right -- John.

BERMAN: Alisyn, thank you for having that conversation with Neil on that.

We are remembering our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. As one person put it, a hero of human curiosity.

We'll be right back.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: We do have breaking news of the worst variety to tell you about.

It's Friday, June eighth, 8:00 here in New York. We welcome our viewers here in the United States and now, around the world.

Our terrible sad news to report is that world-renowned chef, best- selling author, and award-winning host of "PARTS UNKNOWN," our friend, Anthony Bourdain, has died.

For the last five years on CNN, Tony traveled across the globe doing what he loved.