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President Trump Expected To Finalize SCOTUS Choice This Week; Woman Climbs Base Of The Statue Of Liberty To Protest Separation Of Migrant Families; Joey Chestnut Breaks World Record In Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest; Poll: Half Of Americans Believe Trump Is A Racist. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 5, 2018 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:32:08] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump set to announce his nominee for Supreme Court on Monday, but sources tell CNN the president could finalize his actual choice by today or tomorrow.

Joining us to discuss the frontrunners, Joan Biskupic, CNN Supreme Court analyst.

Joan, if you read the papers, if you read the tea leaves, it seems that Brett Kavanaugh might be on the shortest of short lists right now.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: You know, John, I think that's right. I think he's the man to beat right now. There might be a woman to beat in Amy Coney Barrett. But I think right now, Brett Kavanaugh, given his experience in Washington with the people who are part of President Trump's judge-picking apparatus -- that Brett Kavanaugh has a-- has a lead.

I think given that we're not sure where this administration might go, I think it's good to keep viewers informed about the other two who might be coming up, too.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And before we get there John, what's the downside of Brett Kavanaugh? Why isn't he just a no-brainer for President Trump?

BISKUPIC: Oh, there are reasons Alisyn and that's a good question.

First of all, that he's part of the establishment. President Trump, himself, is anti-establishment in many ways and Brett Kavanaugh might be returning to the same old model, although he did that essentially with Neil Gorsuch.

They both went to Georgetown Prep High School here in D.C. Brett Kavanaugh is a Yale law graduate. Neil Gorsuch was a Harvard one. They both clerked for Anthony Kennedy.

So there's a familiarity with both of them and President Trump might think I want somebody who breaks the mold right now. So that could be a potential one, also. And I know you all discussed earlier the idea of is he conservative enough. Frankly, he's conservative enough, it's just that there's a lot of jockeying going on behind the scenes on that.

CAMEROTA: OK, next, Amy. Tell us about Amy Barrett.

BISKUPIC: OK, good. She's younger than Brett Kavanaugh. She's just 46. She doesn't have the kind of experience that Brett Kavanaugh had on the bench, appointed back in 2006. She just recently went on the Chicago-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

She was confirmed by the Senate, but after some fireworks, Alisyn. And I'm sure that folks have heard plenty now about the exchange she had with Sen. Dianne Feinstein who because of her Catholic-infused writings said to now-Judge Barrett, "It sounds like the dogma lives loudly in you."

So that's something that frankly, could appeal to President Trump but could also make for a harder confirmation hearing because Roe v. Wade is so front and center.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: Certainly. So, just run through us the third name really being floated in the winner's circle, Judge Kethledge.

BISKUPIC: That's right, John. Judge Kethledge has some familiarity too with the kind of markers I'm going to mention.

A former law clerk to Anthony Kennedy, just like Brett Kavanaugh, just like Neil Gorsuch. He's right in the middle of the two in terms of age. He's 51.

[07:35:09] He went to the University of Michigan for his law degree, which isn't the Ivy's as President Trump has said he might want, but he might have a more -- a fuller kind of resume. He has been counsel at Ford Motor Company. He's a little bit more outdoorsy. Grew up in Michigan.

So, you know, we have a couple of different angles that the president can pitch.

You know, we've all been talking about who might be conservative and who might not be. All of these people will have some sort of story told around them. You know, what they -- what they were like as children, what they can offer. Some relatability that President Trump will want to pitch when he rolls this all out on Monday night.

BERMAN: So we look at the top three candidates right now and right now, it does seem that it's Kavanaugh, Barrett, and Kethledge. Is there any possibility for a dark horse Joan, and who would that be?

BISKUPIC: You know, I would say, John, that just because it's President Trump and just because of the way nomination processes can go, yes, there's a possibility of a dark horse.

Somebody can zip to the front suddenly because first of all, President Trump reconsiders an individual. He hears something. Somebody close to him gets in his head.

So, you know, like -- all right, I don't want to predict anyone but let's just talk about some of the others he's interviewed.

He interviewed Judge Amul Thapar who is now on the Sixth Circuit. He's from Kentucky.

He's a protege of Mitch McConnell which, frankly, might cut a little bit against him with President Trump wanting his own individual here. But he's someone who could offer some diversity to the court and so he might come forward.

I should say though, he's only been on the Appeals Court since President Trump named him last year. But he was a -- he's a former prosecutor and he's a former trial court judge. So, you know, he could come.

And then, President Trump has interviewed four individuals in person but he's done some telephone phone calls -- telephone calls, too. And one of them, this time around, was to Thomas Hardiman who was the runner-up last time.

They clicked but he didn't get it. I think it sounds likely he would get it this time but you just never know.

CAMEROTA: Why? But what's that about?

AVLON: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Why is he --

AVLON: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- just the always ran (ph)?

BISKUPIC: Yes, Alisyn, when kind of the runner-up for the beauty contest, too.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

BISKUPIC: But he might not be. He was the -- he almost ran last time. He might be this time, we don't know.

He's on -- just so people know, he's on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals based on Philadelphia. That's where President Trump's sister had served. He has a Georgetown law degree.

Right now, the only with the Ivy who's in this finalist category is Brett Kavanaugh and as I said, he's very well-connected. But, President Trump might be sick of hearing that. Who knows?

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean --

BISKUPIC: Well, he will make -- and who knows? We'll know soon.

AVLON: Yes, we certainly will. CAMEROTA: You can't have a slacker who went to the University of Michigan --

AVLON: I mean --

CAMEROTA: -- and --

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Right? I mean --

AVLON: I think Yale and Harvard are perfectly well represented on the part --

BERMAN: Tom Brady went to the University of Michigan.

AVLON: Yes, good point.

BISKUPIC: Yes.

BERMAN: I'm just saying, he did.

AVLON: John, this is not fantasy football.

CAMEROTA: Maybe he's a candidate.

AVLON: But tell us about Joan --

CAMEROTA: Are you suggesting Tom Brady?

BERMAN: I'm just saying it's a fact.

AVLON: Tell us about Joan Larsen because there's this other name -- the second woman on the list --

CAMEROTA: Right.

AVLON: -- who really hasn't been discussed in great detail.

CAMEROTA: Yes, great point.

BISKUPIC: And I can tell you about here. She's a former clerk to Justice Scalia. She was a state court judge before going on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit -- a Trump appointee last year.

So she's -- and she's a -- she's a -- she's a very good writer. She was just interviewed by phone and she doesn't have the vast clerk network and Washington establishment credentials, but you never know if that could appeal to the president in the end.

And we know he's said that he's sort of intrigued by the idea of appointing a woman. We've only had four women justices in the entire history of the Supreme Court -- more than 100 men -- so maybe it's time for a fifth.

CAMEROTA: All right, Joan Biskupic. Thank you for walking us through all of that.

BISKUPIC: Sure.

CAMEROTA: We know more about them than we did four minutes ago. Thank you --

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: -- very much.

OK.

I don't if any of you watched this yesterday but there was a protest at the Statue of Liberty that shut down tourism there for hours. And these patient first responders just somehow tried to talk to her and cajole her from coming down or doing something even more dramatic, and it worked. So, we'll give you an update.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:43:37] BERMAN: The woman who climbed to the base of the Statue of Liberty was protesting the Trump administration's policy of separating families at the border. Therese Okoumou is in federal custody facing possible trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.

Earlier in the day, other members of her group unfurled a banner at the base of the statue, calling for the abolition of ICE. At least seven people were arrested there.

CAMEROTA: That was just a crazy, long standoff that we all watched unfold on T.V.

Meanwhile, heavy rain is pounding Houston, causing streets to flood and authorities to tell people to stay home. Some parts of the city seeing eight inches of rain in just a matter of hours.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has the forecast. How's it looking there, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's done for now. The rain is over. It's moved out toward El Paso.

But a lot of rain came down yesterday morning. We were watching it here at CNN. We saw the rain come down, especially on the west side of town.

It was a spin. Kind of a little upper low just moving right over Houston and the low pressure caused all of that rainfall. Six inches widespread; one spot over eight inches of rain.

Now, for the rest of the day, it will be hot across the northeast. That's really no breaker. But we will see colder air come in for the weekend.

Your heat index today in St. Louis, 104; Nashville, 103. Ninety-two, though, in New York City. But look at this. Temperatures will be in the 70s by Saturday across the northeast, 80s everywhere else.

Where did the heat go? Back out here. Palm Springs, over 114 for three straight days coming up for this weekend. Vegas, Phoenix, L.A., over 100 for a couple of days as well.

[07:45:07] John, the heat went left.

BERMAN: The heat went left. All right. Thank you, Chad Myers.

MYERS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: I appreciate it. I was -- I screened out about 18 jokes that were inappropriate there so I'll just have to let that one slide.

CAMEROTA: Good thinking.

BERMAN: Joey Chestnut -- an American who can make us all proud -- crushing the hot dogs and the field to win his 11th Nathan's hot dog eating contest.

Andy Scholes, our chief hot dog-eating correspondent, joins us with more in the "Bleacher Report." Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes. I am the expert this morning, John.

And you think about the great sports guys through the past 20 years, you've got your Patriots, the Warriors, Alabama football. And you know what? Joey Chestnut right up there with them.

This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.

Chestnut just crushed in the field in the 102nd Nathan's hot dog eating contest yesterday. He devoured a record 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes, beating his previous record by two. And if you are wondering, 74 hot dogs in more than 22,000 calories.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEY CHESTNUT, WINNER, 102ND NATHAN'S HOT DOG EATING CONTEST: It makes it so much easier when you love the food and there's people supporting you and there's -- I was being supported today.

Growing up, I didn't want to be a competitive eater but I fell in love with it and I'm riding this wave. I didn't know -- I had no idea it would take me here and I'd be back so many times. But I'm just going to keep doing it and I -- just keep pushing me to the next level.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Chestnut has now won 11 of the past 12 contests. He trains for months for his big day on July fourth every year. And, Chestnut has said in the past, quote, he "feels like garbage after a competition. But so what? Most people feel like garbage after a long day of work."

All right. Finally, Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez did not have a great Fourth of July at the ballpark. After striking out, check him out taking out his fury on this cooler.

On the bright side, he didn't miss that cooler once. He hit it every single time. But then he decided he wanted to give that cooler right there a roundhouse right.

And, Alisyn, we've seen it already this year in baseball -- multiple players hurting themselves in the dugout doing stupid things like that. But unfortunately for Gomez, I think he's just fine.

CAMEROTA: I'm not sure their anger management courses are working.

BERMAN: The cooler did file an assault charge, actually.

CAMEROTA: I don't blame the -- I don't blame the cooler.

BERMAN: It was a litigious cooler.

CAMEROTA: But we need to talk about Joey Chestnut. First of all, I have to avert my eyes during these stories --

SCHOLES: It's tough.

CAMEROTA: -- so I don't lose my breakfast.

BERMAN: You were just bragging about how you could be a competitive --

CAMEROTA: I can be one.

BERMAN: -- eater.

CAMEROTA: I can be a competitive eater.

BERMAN: You're sending mixed messages.

CAMEROTA: I don't want to watch the outtake. I can't even watch this.

BERMAN: But, Camerota in the --

CAMEROTA: But I wouldn't do it that.

BERMAN: -- I could be a competitive eater. Now she's claiming to be repulsed by this. Which is it?

CAMEROTA: Well, I'm --

BERMAN: Pick a stand.

CAMEROTA: -- repulsed by his eating. But I could -- Oh, God -- OK, I can't even look at that. Is it over?

AVLON: Yes, it's safe.

CAMEROTA: That is so gross --

AVLON: You can come out now.

CAMEROTA: -- John.

AVLON: It's amazing. I do think like if you had on your business card 'unsuccessful competitive eater' --

BERMAN: Yes.

AVLON: -- that would be the saddest of all things.

But I love the quote he gave. "Growing up, I didn't want to be a competitive eater but I fell in love with it." Joey Chestnut is all of us.

BERMAN: It's the American dream.

AVLON: He speaks for America.

CAMEROTA: I think I've missed my calling. John, I'm good with two breakfasts.

BERMAN: You just said you wanted to be a competitive eater.

CAMEROTA: I do want to be a competitive eater. I just don't want to watch competitive eating. I think it makes sense --

AVLON: That's fair.

CAMEROTA: -- people.

AVLON: That's fair.

CAMEROTA: Tweet John if you have any other thoughts on that.

BERMAN: You've left Twitter.

CAMEROTA: I said tweet you.

BERMAN: OK.

CAMEROTA: Yes, tweet you. OK.

Meanwhile, listen to this. There is a new poll out that shows that half of America believes the President of the United States is a racist. What is happening? We're going to dive into that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:52:35] CAMEROTA: OK, listen to this. A new national poll asked Americans if they think President Trump is racist and half of Americans surveyed say yes -- half. Let's discuss this with Michael Eric Dyson. His new book, "What Truth Sounds Likes" is now a "New York Times" bestseller, as well as CNN political commentator Scott Jennings.

Gentlemen, we have to just repeat that headline. Half of Americans find the President of the United States to be racist.

Scott, how do you make sense of that?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I think it's a reflection of the extreme political polarization we live in, in America right now. We are willing, as Americans, to ascribe all of the worst motivations to every policy viewed, every action that our political opponents take.

In this case, what the people who disapprove of Trump believe is that he's a racist and everything he does must be rooted in some form of racism.

I think during the Obama years, Republicans were also guilty of this. We ascribed some of Obama's motivations to the fact that he was not born in this country. He was a secret Muslim.

CAMEROTA: But --

JENNINGS: I think what we have is such polarization that it drives us to believe the worst in our political opponents.

CAMEROTA: OK.

JENNINGS: It's a mistrustful environment and it's bad.

CAMEROTA: But Scott, do you think that any of it has to do with President Trump's own words or actions? Let me put up a few of them that people have called racist.

In 19 -- he was accused, as you know, throughout the 70s of discriminating against minorities at his rental properties. In fact, he settled a case about that. That was in 1973, 1978, and 1992.

He perpetuated birtherism, as you know, calling the -- saying that President Obama wasn't born here. Called Mexicans entering the country rapists and criminals. He refused to renounce David Duke, as you may recall.

He said the Central Park Five were all still guilty despite DNA evidence to the contrary. He said a judge could not be impartial because he was Mexican -- had Mexican heritage, I should say. He said there were people -- fine people on both sides of the Charlottesville protest that involved white supremacists.

He attacks NFL players for kneeling during the Anthem, and he referred to Haiti and African countries as "blank hole" countries.

So, Scott, do you really think it's just the polarization of the public or do you think that it's possible that Donald Trump is responsible for some of this feeling?

JENNINGS: Well, some of the examples you cited -- I mean, just because you disagree with people kneeling doesn't make you a racist. Just because you --

CAMEROTA: OK, but how about the other ones?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, CONTRIBUTING OPINION WRITER, THE NEW YORK TIMES, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THE NEW REPUBLIC AND ESPN'S "THE UNDEFEATED" WEBSITE, AUTHOR, "WHAT TRUTH SOUNDS LIKE": Good, God almighty.

[07:55:00] CAMEROTA: How about the ones about --

DYSON: This is the problem.

CAMEROTA: -- about Charlottesville.

JENNINGS: But the -- and look, as you know, I've been on this show with you guys and I have disagreed at times with the president's language. I don't agree with some of the stances he's taken and --

CAMEROTA: Yes, but do you think some of them are racist?

JENNINGS: No, I don't believe they're racist. I just believe they are not well-informed and I believe they might be the wrong tone at the wrong time.

DYSON: Wow. Yes, the KKK --

JENNINGS: I don't believe the president is a racist.

DYSON: The KKK just is looking for a discount on linen. It's now, you know, a racist organization. They just wear sheets when they get up at night and sleepwalk.

Here's the problem. This kind of grievous moral equivalency between hey, they said Obama was something. They disagreed with him. They were polarized and now they're looking at Trump.

Here is a guy who has called Haiti and African nations s-hole countries. Here is a guy who in 1973, as you already indicated, was found in a judgment by the Department of Justice to be a discriminatory person when it came to black people --

CAMEROTA: Landlord.

DYSON: -- consistent -- landlord -- consistently.

The Central Park Five -- he called for their death and even after they were exonerated he still said it was outrageous.

The reality is that we're talking about Neil deGrasse Tyson. He looks at stars, he looks through telescopes. Is he an astrophysicist?

Well, the reality is this. Donald Trump talks like a racist, thinks like a racist, makes statements like a racist. Conjures emotions that give sucker and support to white supremacists and white nationalists. Yes, he's a racist because racism is as racism does.

So this attempt to avoid -- and here's the problem. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it's not the white supremacists who are the problem, it's white moderates and conservatives who tend to be complicit with that by trying to dismiss it.

Brother Jennings, much respect for you but this is ludicrous. What you're doing is even more egregious because you're attempting to justify, legitimate, and make valid what are essentially naked, raw statements of racism.

This is easy stuff. This is very clear --

CAMEROTA: Let him talk (ph).

DYSON: -- that it has racial animus here and you're trying to dismiss it as a difference of opinion.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

DYSON: That is, itself, complicitous in the racist element we're talking about.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Scott.

JENNINGS: Well, I disagree with everything you've said. I disagree with the motives you've ascribed to me.

And I think most Republicans and most conservatives, frankly, are tired of being called by the American left that they are racist or complicit in racism because they ask you to vote for them --

DYSON: Deal with the issue at hand.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but --

JENNINGS: -- or serve as politicians or believe in certain --

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: I understand. Hold on -- hold on, gentlemen. It's not -- it's not --

JENNINGS: You're welcome to come on here and call that to me --

CAMEROTA: Scott, hold on.

JENNINGS: -- but it's not going to --

CAMEROTA: Let's just --

JENNINGS: It's not going to help what you want to get out of this country --

CAMEROTA: Understood. Scott -- Scott, hold on.

JENNINGS: -- I promise you.

CAMEROTA: Scott, hold on.

DYSON: To get out of this country?

CAMEROTA: Hold on. Hold on, Michael.

Scott, focus on the question about President Trump. How can you overlook -- how can you gloss over some of these points that people have found to be racist?

JENNINGS: I don't overlook it. I have come on your show and other shows --

DYSON: Are they racist?

JENNINGS: -- on CNN many times and I have said the president has made a mistake here and he's going to regret this, and that the president can do better.

But I don't believe Donald Trump is a racist. I just -- I don't believe that. I think he may have -- I think he -- I think he may --

CAMEROTA: Why not? But, I just -- hold on. I just -- I'm -- hold on, hold on.

JENNINGS: -- have formed --

CAMEROTA: I just want to ask you -- I just want to ask you specifically if for somebody who tells black applicants who come to their apartment building that the rent is twice as high as they told white applicants or for somebody who tells black applicants who come to rent an apartment that it's filled -- that there's no vacancies -- but they don't tell a white person that the same an hour later, how is that not racist?

JENNINGS: Yes, look, I don't know the details of these cases. I really don't.

DYSON: That's the complicity --

JENNINGS: And I'm not going to sit here and go through the guy's resume from 40 years ago.

CAMEROTA: Hold on, Michael. Hold on, Michael. Let me hear --

JENNINGS: But what I'm going to tell you is --

DYSON: You're giving him all the time. I mean, you're giving -- you're giving airspace to a guy --

CAMEROTA: Because I want to hear his explanation.

DYSON: -- and oxygen to a guy who is really trying to legitimate and validate racism. He has far worse than --

CAMEROTA: No. I want to hear how he explains it.

DYSON: -- even what the president is.

CAMEROTA: Hold on, Michael. You'll get your turn. Go ahead, Scott.

DYSON: All right.

JENNINGS: All I can tell you is is that I view the presidency -- this presidency through the lens of his policy actions during this last year and a half. I think his basic policy actions are essential basic tenants of the Republicans' platforms. Not in all cases but in most cases.

CAMEROTA: Sure. Can you overlook his words? Is that -- I mean, basically, you overlook his words.

JENNINGS: I think -- no, I don't overlook his words. I've been on with you personally saying that I disagree with the words the president has chosen --

CAMEROTA: Understood, but you don't consider them racist?

JENNINGS: -- in many cases.

No, I do not believe the president is a racist.

CAMEROTA: OK.

JENNINGS: I do not believe that.

CAMEROTA: OK. Michael, go ahead.

DYSON: Here's the point. We have a clear-cut example of racial animus. At the very least, racially disparaging comments.

Racial inclinations here that are outside not only the norm of what we accept as humane, but he has emboldened white supremacists to come forward. The resurge in bigotry of America has been catalyzed by this president who stands in his bully pulpit to bully people who don't agree with him.

And I think it is ridiculous here for brother Scott to come on this -- these airwaves and not acknowledge what is clear and plain before us that a man making inflammatory remarks is not something just to be disagreed with. You should find them abhorrent.

You should find them -- you should repudiate them and find them a cause for you to distance yourself from a man who could call Mexicans rapists -- all Mexicans rapists. Muslims who should be banned. Black people who should be discriminated against. Women who should be treated in a sexually predatory manner.

The point is that here is a president who has said things quite clearly and you, as a figure, can't even say yes, I find it repugnant and reprehensible and he should be repudiated. And yet, you come on to try to say I disagreed with you in the past.