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Remembering Aretha Franklin; Trump's Unreality Show; McNair's Parents Speak Out. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 17, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:29] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tributes pouring in for legendary singer Aretha Franklin, who died yesterday at the age of 90 -- 76, I should say, of pancreatic cancer. Friends and fans remembering the queen of soul's incomparable voice and prolific career.

CNN's Stephanie Elam has more on the life and legacy.


ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN (singing): What you want, yes, I got it.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, certainly garnered respect on and off stage.

FRANKLIN (singing): R-e-s-p-e-c-t.

ELAM: Born Aretha Louise Franklin in Memphis, Tennessee, the four octave range vocalist began singing at her father's church in Detroit. The incomparable songstress often credited him for nurturing her burgeoning talent.

FRANKLIN: Very early on, he taught me a number of things, having to do with timing and phrasing and different things like that, and coaching me in different ways. He did say at one point that one day I would sing for kings and queens. He did say that. And I have.

ELAM: Franklin won her first of many Grammys in 1967. Her best rhythm and blues solo global performance tour "Respect."

FRANKLIN: It was a civil rights mantra. I perfectly thought it applied well. Everybody wants respect. Who doesn't want respect.

FRANKLIN (singing): All I'm asking, is for a little respect.

ELAM: Respect for the Atlantic recording artist on the path to winning 18 Grammy's throughout her incredible career. She also took home awards for hits like "Chain of Fools" and "Freeway of Love."

FRANKLIN (singing): We're going riding on the freeway.

ELAM: Franklin was also ahead of her time with a string of firsts. In 1987, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and seven years later became the youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center honor.

FRANKLIN: Some of the things that have happened are unbelievable. Who would -- who would have thought it. But, nevertheless, it did happen. God is good.

FRANKLIN (singing): (INAUDIBLE) I'll be on your side forever more.

ELAM: With her voice and her formidable achievements in music and film, such as "The Blues Brothers," Aretha is often considered to be one of the greatest singers of all time. However, the woman who sang for kings and queens, reveled in being good at the most important job in the world.

FRANKLIN: I've been a wonderful and a very good mother, and am a very good mother. That's what I am most proud of first.

ELAM: A loving mother, a decorated diva, Franklin was most of all grateful for her music, her longevity, and her audiences throughout her career.

FRANKLIN: It's the love of the music, loyal fans --


BERMAN: It's so great to hear the songs, to hear that voice. And Stefanie had a line toward the top of her piece that you say matter of factly, bout the four octave range, just throwing that in there. Her voice was unbelievable.

ERIC HILL, CNN ANCHOR: It really was. And it's -- all these songs that we keep hearing, as everybody's doing their tributes and you're thinking about it and you probably -- I mean you sent me some stuff last night and you're just listening to all this music, you almost forget with each song you go, oh, yes, I love that one too and I love that one too for this reason. It makes me think of -- I mean her impact.

BERMAN: This is "The Blues Brothers." This is "Think" from "The Blues Brothers." This had already been a hit for years when this came out in 1980, though. Oh, man.

HILL: This is your second favorite song.

BERMAN: This is my -- you're selling me out here.

HILL: I'm truly selling you out, yes.

BERMAN: So our executive producer (INAUDIBLE) asked what our favorite songs were, and the truth is my favorite song is "Natural Woman," which you're hearing right now at the Kennedy Center. But I didn't feel like as a guy I could say "Natural Woman" is my favorite song. So I claimed that "Think" (INAUDIBLE).

HILL: I think you can own it.

BERMAN: But this is amazing. HILL: Oh, it is.


ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN (singing): Wrong with me. Oh, till your kiss helped me name it. Now I'm no longer doubtful of what I'm living for, because if you make me happy, I don't need to do more. Cause me make me feel, you make me feel, you make me feel like a natural woman.


BERMAN: President Obama -- former President Obama crying at that performance, understandably. And after this she gets up from the piano, you know, with that mink. Man did she -- she belted it out at the end.

[06:35:03] HILL: That's one of many we'll be bringing you throughout the morning as we look back on her life and her legacy.

BERMAN: Yes, we will bring you remarkable memories from two people who you will want to listen from, Aretha Franklin's friends, music icons Smokey Robinson and Jennifer Holliday. Smokey Robinson calls Aretha Franklin his oldest friend. They knew each other from the time they were like eight years old.

HILL: Amazing. Think about all the greatness that came out of that one neighborhood.

BERMAN: All right, President Trump is called the reality TV president, but a new article claims he's actually running an unreality show. The writer behind that joining us next.


HILL: President Trump's Twitter feed makes very clear what he is focused on, trying to discredit the integrity of the Russia investigation. The president, as you have likely seen, is increasing his tweets about the upcoming midterm elections as well, suggesting that it won't be the Democrats who see a wave.

In this week's "New Yorker," Susan Glasser looked at how President Trump is waging global warfare on those two fronts. Something she likens to an unreality show.

Joining me now, Susan Glasser, CNN global affairs analyst and staff writer for "The New Yorker."

[06:40:00] And, Susan, as we look at this, you open the piece by talking about how Donald Trump's presidency is often described as a reality show. But you say that his behavior and untethered public comments in recent days suggests that analogy misses the mark, noting it's an unreality show as this president tries to sell the American public, or at least his narrow slice of it, on an entirely opposite version of what is actually happening. It's something we've seen play out before, but you're really detailing here how he's using it for one area, the rigged witch hunt, and now he's moving into the realm of the red wave as he calls it.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, that's right. You know, it's interesting, I think you're going to hear a lot more of this. We have ten weeks to go until the midterm elections and -- and, again, it's -- I -- to me, I think it's really a case study of how President Trump operates. It's not enough to say, no, I don't think Democrats are going to win back the House. There's not going to be a blue wave. He has to create an alternate reality that he's working to get people to believe in. The idea of the red wave.

Even "The Wall Street Journal," conservative Boston (ph) editorialized that this was just an illusion. I spoke with Charlie Cook, the dean of American election forecasters. He told me, this is just completely delusional. And yet you'll hear President Trump repeating this it over and over again. And I think it's a good example. He wants his followers, at this point, not to join him in a sort of spin machine version of reality. He wants them to join him in a sort of narrative that's completely disconnected or, in many cases, opposite of the facts. I think we saw that this week in how he had his White House describe John Brennan and his behavior. In many ways it seemed like they were talking about Trump himself rather than the former CIA director.

HILL: In terms of that messaging, it's pretty clear that it does work with the president's base. And we know that he enjoys shoring up that base using some of this rhetoric at rallies, for example. He'd love to be out there on the campaign trail doing more of it.

But is there a sense overall that it's actually having an impact on anyone outside the base?

GLASSER: Well, again, first of all, you know, it's not really clear. You can say what you want over and over again, that there's going to be a red wave. But I think that's the interesting challenge here is, does that mean there's actually going to be a red wave? There's no evidence for it whatsoever. And so, you know, what do you do if you're left in the reality based community by any metric, by any number, there's no evidence whatsoever.

And, interestingly, by this point in a midterm election year, and we have a lot of history of this, there has never been a case in modern times, and people have been tracking this, where the numbers, as of this point in August, we're almost at Labor Day, have reversed. So you've seen examples where the wave may get bigger or not, but you've never seen an example of a wave turning direction and absolutely the politics changes in some radical fashion over this three-month period. And that's what President Trump is asking us to believe by repeating over and over again the notion of a red wave.

HILL: It's interesting too because as Charlie Cook pointed out to you, he sees that there are 37 House seats as highly venerable. That's up from 20 in January.

A lot of this, though, plays into this mind-set of the president in that he defied the odds once before in his mind, right? The pollsters were wrong in 2016. He won. Who's to say he can't do it again? Sure, everybody may say it's not going to happen, there's no red wave, but he was right once before. He's going to be right again.

GLASSER: Well, that's right, this very much gets at the psychology of President Trump, which is why I thought it was such an interesting case study. Basically it's the death of expertise. You know, I have defied the laws of political gravity once before and therefore you should believe me when I say it doesn't matter that all of the weight of the evidence is against me. And, of course, it's not just the word of one expert against another. (INAUDIBLE) 200 years of American political history here.

HILL: Which is fascinating.

When we talk about too these, you know, sort of the drum beat of whether it's the rigged witch hunt or the red wave, it is fascinating to see, even just when we talk about the rigged witch hunt, the number of tweets -- the president tweeting that seven times since Monday, 15 times so far just in August. Clearly he's latched onto that and red wave, as you point out here, is following it. It's becoming sort of the new rigged witch hunt. So it will be interesting to see how that plays out in the next several weeks.

GLASSER: Well, that's right. You know, we go back to our metaphor of whether it's the reality show or the unreality show. Trump sees himself as the producer of this and he's branding his new slogans. And that's, I think, what he's doing with the red wave. He first started using it in June and now he seems to be repeating it every time there's a primary election, every time, you know, he's at a political rally. He's going to say it over and over and over again. So expect to hear an awful lot more of this slogan from President Trump over the ten weeks, between now and the November midterms that may well decide the future course of his presidency, by the way. It's not just about Congress.

[06:45:09] HILL: And we will see what happens on the wave front in those next several weeks.

Susan, always appreciate it. Thank you.

GLASSER: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, the parents -- the parents of the University of Maryland football player who died after collapsing at a team workout, they are speaking out. What they demand to see happen. That's next.


BERMAN: The parents of the Maryland football player who died are speaking out, saying the team's coach should never be allowed to coach again.

Andy Scholes has more in The "Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, John. Yes, 19-year-old Jordan McNair died back in June, 15 days after suffering a heat stroke after a guiling football practice. Earlier this week, Maryland's school president came out and said the school was taking legal and moral responsibility for Jordan's death, apologizing to McNair's parents. Yesterday on "Good Morning America," McNair's parents speaking out for the first time and they say head coach DJ Durkin should be fired.


MARTIN MCNAIR, FATHER OF JORDAN MCNAIR: He shouldn't be able to work with anybody else's kid. You don't send your kind away to college -- Mike, when you send your kid away to college for them to be developed into young people, and that's physically, emotionally, you know, spiritually, and just teach these people -- teach our young -- our young kids -- our young people that we worked so hard to get there to, hey, I'm giving my child to you. Keep them safe. And they did anything but that. So of course he should be fired.


[06:50:24] SCHOLES: Now, Durkin is currently on administrative leave while the school continues its investigation into the surrounding McNair's death. ESPN reported last week that Maryland's football program had a toxic culture, detailing allegations of verbal abuse, bullying and a general disregard for the player's wellbeing. Durkin has not commented on the report since being put on leave. And we will hear much more from McNair's parents, Erica, when they join NEW DAY in the next hour.

HILL: Yes, they'll be sitting down with us in that next hour and we'll talk more with them about it. Just heartbreaking.

Andy, appreciate it. Thank you.

As we take a turn here, Omarosa's newest tape, well, you can be sure that it's getting a lot of attention, but not just at the White House. It is perfect fodder for a few late night laughs. We've got some highlights from Stephen Colbert.


[06:55:22] HILL: The Pentagon is delaying President Trump's military parade, which was initially scheduled for this coming Veteran's Day. Officials say they're now exploring opportunities to do it next year. The parade, which an administration official tells CNN is expected to cost more than $90 million, that includes security expenses, was slated to focus on celebrating veterans. It would include U.S. troops and U.S. military vehicles.

BERMAN: Omarosa's tapes, they are ripe for punch lines. That's an understatement. Here are your late night laughs.


STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Omarosa dropped a new secret tape today. This time it's her and presidential daughter- in-law Lara Trump and it confirms Omarosa's claim that she was offered $15,000 a month to hush.

Why is Lara Trump in charge of this? Super important meeting. Everybody in here. We can't have Omarosa spilling sensitive info that could destroy my presidency. We need someone to handle this delicately. Send my worst son's wife.

OMAROSA: Well, what Mr. Nixon -- I mean Mr. Trump does will be brought to light.

COLBERT: Uh-oh. That is an insult it Richard Nixon.

OMAROSA: I'm going to go toe to toe with him. Everything he throws at me, believe me, my tapes are much better than theirs.

COLBERT: Maybe, but I bet Russia's got you both beat.


BERMAN: Stephen Colbert also basically begged Omarosa not to release anything for the next two weeks because he's going on vacation.

HILL: Yes. Yes. It will be interesting to see if she listens.

BERMAN: Wouldn't count on it.

All right, thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: As far as Strzok, Page and Bruce Ohr, I'm very concerned about them having security clearances.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that it's out there in a very partisan way probably doesn't help the cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the president just going to now start revoking security clearances because we say thinks he didn't like? That's what dictators do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House has an Omarosa problem right now.

BERMAN: "The New York Times" reporting White House aides very worried that Omarosa could have as many as 200 recorded conversations.

OMAROSA: There are things that I'm going to save to share when the time is right.

ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN (singing): Feel like a natural woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love Aretha. I love what she stood for. She inspired generations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aretha Franklin comes along only once, period. (END VIDEO CLIP)

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

BERMAN: Aretha Franklin comes around only once. Isn't that the truth?

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me.

One question this morning, who will be next. This after we learned that President Trump plans to revoke the secure clearances of more former national security officials. Former CIA Director John Brennan was the first target because the president says -- of his involvement in launching the Russian investigation. Today, he could expand that list. The move triggering a dozen former intelligence chiefs to sign a joint letter of support for John Brennan and blasting the president's decision as an attempt to stifle free speech.

And in another blistering admonishment of the president, the man who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid, Retired Navy Admiral William McRaven basically says, if you're going to take away Brennan's security clearance, take mine too. He says it would be an honor to join those who have stood up to the Trump presidency.

HILL: Also this morning, former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman releasing another recording, this time of President Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump. Omarosa says it proves how the White House was trying to buy her silence after she was fired. "The New York Times" reporting Omarosa could have as many as 200 tapes.

BERMAN: And as we said, we're also going to focus on the passing of Aretha Franklin, 76 years old. What an incredible life. So many tributes pouring in over the course of the morning. It truly is remarkable.

HILL: Looking forward to --

BERMAN: And at the end of the show today, Smokey Robinson and Jennifer Holliday.

HILL: And Jennifer Holliday.

BERMAN: Stick around for that.

In the meantime, no slouch himself, General Michael Hayden joins us right now. General Hayden is at risk of losing his security clearance in the coming days. He is the former director of both the CIA and NSA and also a CNN national security analyst.

General, thanks so much for being with us.


[06:59:47] BERMAN: You, sir, apparently not concerned that your security clearance is at risk of going away. You signed on to this letter with 11 of your former colleagues there. Let me just read you one bit of this. It says, we all agree that the president's action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech. You don't have to agree with what John Brennan says.