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Gender Pay Gap in Medicine; Senator McCain Laid to Rest at U.S. Naval Academy; Supreme Court Fight; President Trump Rants Against Own Justice Department Over Republican Indictments. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired September 3, 2018 - 15:00   ET



JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: And Duncan Hunter was more recently charged, he and his wife, for a variety of things, wire fraud, other matters, campaign finance violation.

The allegation is that they misused, in fact, stole nearly a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds, and saying it was being used for a variety of things, when, in fact, they were going on vacation and using it for personal matters.

These two very serious charges, not uncommon for the Justice Department to file charges against sitting members of Congress. We have seen it from the both parties over the years. What is extraordinarily -- uncommon I can't recall this ever happening -- the president weighing in specifically on a specific case, and also suggesting that politics should have played a role in this, that the Justice Department, which, of course, is overseen by Jeff Sessions, who is a Republican appointed by this Republican president, he is saying that they should have given them special treatment and not charged them during an election year.

So, Brooke, that is what is the unusual nature here. The president has long taken many swipes at his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, but not for anything like this. He's saying, look, he should not have charged them simply because they are Republicans.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Mark, how do you explain that? This is extraordinary.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: I think it's really unfair that you are asking me to try to explain Donald Trump.

This is..

BALDWIN: He is implying that the Jeff Sessions' Department of Justice, you know, should hold off on prosecuting to save these seats.

PRESTON: It's absolutely -- I mean, gosh, I have said this before. I will say it again. I'm sure I will say it again in a few hours, if not a few days. It's absolutely insane, the behavior we are seeing come out of President Trump.

If you look at that tweet, OK, the successive tweets that he sent out, he is using that tweet, A, as Jeff points out, for political purposes. He is putting it out and he's making a political argument not to press charges against two individuals who are facing very serious charges.

And, by the way, any of you who are driving in your cars listening on Sirius or watching this at home, if you were charged with these crimes, they wouldn't wait until November to charge you with those crimes. That's one.

The second thing is, is that he is using the congressmen as a bludgeon. He's using this -- these tweets to beat down Jeff Sessions. He is not saying that these folks aren't guilty or they are innocent or offering support to them. All he is saying is that they are very popular and there is not enough time to try to save these seats. That's astounding.

BALDWIN: You know what this kind of reminds me of? Jeff, to you, remember -- my days, weeks are running together, but during Paul Manafort's first -- his trial in D.C., I remember, I can still see the president walking out of the White House and making comments while this jury is about to decide the former campaign official's fate.

And the president interjects into this federal trial and essentially is like, he's a good guy, and it's really sad what they have done to him. That was Paul Manafort. In a similar way, he is injecting himself as the president of the United States talking politics with regard to these two men.

ZELENY: Exactly.

I mean, the overlying force, as Mark just said, trying to use these members of Congress as another weapon or hammer in his ongoing feud with Jeff Sessions. We heard the president say last week in that interview with Bloomberg News that Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, will stay in his job at least until November.

After that, he couldn't be sure. Now, who knows? I wonder if this will change that. But it's very curious as to why the president is weighing in on this right now. The charges happened last month. This is not anything new. There is not any new information as far as I know with Duncan Hunter or Chris Collins.

But the president clearly still trying to build this case that the Justice Department is against him, the Justice Department is against Republicans. That is what he is trying to do. But everyone knows that there are career prosecutors and Republican appointees overseeing this in the Justice Department.

As of now, Jeff Sessions has always fought back. He said in a statement just last month that he is not going to allow political considerations to get in on his actions there. This is, though, pretty extraordinary, because the U.S. attorneys in New York and California that oversaw both of these were Trump appointees.

That is what is extraordinary here. The president, he said last week in a rally in Indiana that he will get involved. Perhaps this is what he meant, now going after specific -- these allegations here. BALDWIN: It's a good point, though, why now? Ponder that, and maybe

that will become evident in the coming hours.

Jeff and Mark, thank you, guys, for jumping in on that with me.

Moving on, Democrats, they are sharpening their strategy one day ahead of a major face-off on Capitol Hill. Tomorrow begins the process of what could be Trump's most enduring legacy, the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court. Confirmation hearings begin for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He would become the fifth conservative voice on the highest court of the land, giving the right-leaning justices the default majority.


So, let's go right to CNN senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, who has all this great new reporting on you how Democrats really plan to take on Brett Kavanaugh, Judge Kavanaugh.

So tell me about what they are really going to be honing in on.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a sharp line of questioning that's expected on Wednesday, four main areas, Brooke, that Democrats in particular want to push on and will be a very contentious line of questioning.

One is about his truthfulness. They believe he was not truthful to the committee over some key issues when he testified in front of the same Senate Judiciary Committee in 2004 and 2006 involving surveillance issues during his time as a Bush aide, as well as detainee policy, as well as his role with three judges who were nominated by then President George W. Bush.

In addition to that, expect some significant questions about the Affordable Care Act and the Texas-led case aimed at overturning that law. Democrats want to hear whether or not he would support or believes in the constitutionality of the protections for people who have preexisting conditions.

And, of course, a significant line of questioning is expected to be focused on Roe vs. Wade. He has privately told senators that he believes that it's settled law, the landmark Supreme Court decision. But that does not necessarily mean he would not overturn that precedent if given the opportunity, at least in the eyes of Democrats.

Expect a lot of questions on what settled law means. And finally, his, view about executive power, and specifically how a president can be investigated by an outside entity. He has previously expressed some skepticism about an independent counsel and as well about indicting a sitting president.

How does he view the Mueller investigation? The view is if he is not forthcoming in his answers, perhaps they could convince some moderate Republican senators to flip and their own red state Democrats to vote against him, but still very different chances right now for Democrats to block his confirmation.

BALDWIN: We will look for those four themes during the grilling on Wednesday.

Manu, thank you.

Let's talk more about Judge Kavanaugh.

With me now, CNN Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue, and Paul Collins, a legal studies professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who co-wrote the book "Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change."

So, let's begin with Manu just went over the Democratic attack. Right? So, Ariane, how do you expect Judge Kavanaugh to handle those issues and avoid pitfalls in the coming days?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: What is really interesting is the whole abortion debate here, right? Because he could very well be the fifth vote to overturn Roe or really cripple, weaken it. He never said how he is going to vote on Roe v. Wade.

His court actually did have a case where the court ruled in favor of an undocumented teen who sought an abortion, and he dissented. He has also said in the past that Antonin Scalia and former chief Justice Rehnquist were role models.

Nobody really knows how he is going to vote. But what the Democrats are going to seize on is the fact that Susan Collins, she's a Republican, she believes in abortion rights, she came out of her meeting with him and said look, hey, he said Roe v. Wade is settled law.

But that doesn't mean anything, because every lower court judge, right, has to do what the Supreme Court says. But once you become a justice, you don't have to. You can vote to unsettle it. And that's what the Democrats are worried about.

And that's one of the key lines of attack we are going to see during these hearings, Brooke.

BALDWIN: I think that's key. Let me just reiterate, on Roe v. Wade, despite what Susan Collins feels, right, the fact that that may not be really settled law. Stay tuned for certainly questions on that.

Professor, to you, on -- let's go back to something that Brett Kavanaugh, he had written. This is from a couple years ago. This is a 2009 "Minnesota Law Review" hearkening back to the Ken Starr- President Clinton area.

So, "Looking back to the late '90s, for example, the nation certainly would have been better off if President Clinton could have focused on Osama bin Laden without being distracted by the Paula Jones sexual harassment case and its criminal investigation offshoots. To be sure, one can correctly say that President Clinton brought that ordeal on himself by his answers during his deposition in the Jones case, if nothing else."

Can you give just me a little bit more context around when he was writing that? And do you think, just relating it to from independent counsel then to special counsel Robert Mueller now, should Judge Kavanaugh recuse himself from anything Mueller-related?


This is going to be a major part what have they are discussing on Wednesday and Thursday. Right? Ariane is exactly right. Abortion is going to be a major, major topic of conversation.

But they are also going to be talking a lot about his view of presidential privilege. And the Mueller investigation is absolutely going to be in the backdrop of the entire confirmation hearing.


BALDWIN: Ariane, what do you think?

DE VOGUE: Well, I think that it is. And I think another big question, and Manu talked about this a little bit, is the role of the documents, right?

Because this is an unprecedented time. No other Supreme Court nominee has had thousands -- hundreds of thousands of documents. He is a product of the Internet age and the e-mail age.

And Grassley says, look, I'm giving you so many documents. And on top of that, I'm showing you that you are going to be able to go through 300 of his judicial opinions. Like, Elena Kagan never had anything like that.

But Democrats on the other side, they have these three points of attack. First of all, they say, yes, you are not giving us any documents from when he was a staff secretary. Some of the documents are being held committee confidential. And that means only members can see them. And the people who designated that were Republican lawyers for Trump and Bush.

And, finally, they point out that the White House is saying that they think that about 100,000 documents should be withheld for constitutional privilege. So there are a lot of fireworks that are going to come up in the next few days.

BALDWIN: I have got one more for you guys. Paul, this is for you, and obviously hard to predict the future on who becomes the swing vote on the nation's highest court.

You look at the late Justice Kennedy. President Reagan appointed him. He voted for Citizens United. He was for gun rights. When you look at the swing votes and what many liberals consider big court wins, same-sex marriage, banning the death penalty for juveniles, reaffirming Roe v. Wade in '92, I have been reading this morning for the first time that -- in 80 years the swing vote could become the chief justice now, John Roberts.

Would you agree with that, A, and what does that say about just the ideological shifting of this court?

COLLINS: Absolutely.

All the evidence suggests that the chief would become the swing vote. And that is a very unusual thing to happen. Over the course of his time on the court, the chief has moved over a little bit to the left. He's still to the right of where Justice Kennedy occupied space.

But there is no doubt that if Judge Kavanaugh gets confirmed, Roberts will find himself in that seat. But what is interesting is I highly doubt you are going to see Judge Roberts act in a way that Justice Kennedy did, in the sense that John Roberts is more conservative than Anthony Kennedy was.

BALDWIN: Paul Collins, Ariane de Vogue, I know we will all be glued to hearings over the course of the next few days. Thank you so much.

And just a reminder to all of you, please, please tune in tonight to the new CNN film, speaking of justices, Supreme Court film Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "RBG" is the film. It airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only here on CNN.

Still ahead here: CNN gets an exclusive new interview with Taliban leaders about possible new peace talks in Afghanistan, this as we learn as American service member has just been killed in an apparent insider attack. We are live in Kabul with the very latest on the war that has now lasted 17 years.

And a stunning remark from a male doctor, claiming female physicians don't get paid as much because they -- quote -- "don't work as hard." Hmm. A doctor who has devoted herself to gender equality in medicine joins me live to respond.

But, first, we will speak to the man who oversaw Senator McCain's burial service at the U.S. Naval Academy. The commander of the Navy's Ceremonial Guard shares what the late senator's legacy means to him.



BALDWIN: A week of public tributes and emotional farewells to Senator John McCain came to a close with a final private goodbye right there in Annapolis, Maryland, at the U.S. Naval Academy on Sunday.

Senator McCain's family and close inner circle of friends were joined by his classmates and current midshipmen for a moving ceremony fit for an American hero at the school's chapel.

The former Navy pilot honored with a missing man flyover by F-18 jets. Senator McCain now rests among the brave men and women at the U.S. Naval Academy. He was buried next to his longtime friend Admiral Chuck Larson.

So, with me now, Ronel Reyes. He's the commanding office of the U.S. National Ceremonial Guard. Commander, an honor and a privilege to speak with you, sir. Thank


CMDR. RONEL REYES, U.S. NAVY: Thanks for having me, Brooke.

BALDWIN: So, you are the lead in charge of the ceremony for Senator John McCain's Navy funeral. How did you prepare for something like this?

REYES: Well, Arlington National Cemetery, the Ceremonial Guard can conduct five to six funerals a day.


And that family has only that one opportunity to celebrate and honor their loved one. So it has to be right. It has to be done right. And yesterday's service was no different. It had to be done right.

So, over the course of the week, we prepared. We conduct rehearsals. We work with entities such as the Army's Old Guard, Caisson Platoon, and we coordinated to make sure it was done right and executed a ceremony that -- with the utmost dignity and respect Senator McCain and his family deserved.

BALDWIN: I mean, here you have -- I was weeping watching these -- you know, the pictures yesterday playing out in Annapolis. And just that must have been -- can you just describe the honor bestowed upon you and your team, Commander Reyes?

REYES: It was -- it is an incredible honor for the young men and women of the Ceremonial Guard, these incredible sailors, the officers at the Ceremonial Guard. It was an incredible honor for us to do the ceremony and lay to rest a hero such as Senator McCain.

For me personally, going back to my days as a midshipman at the Naval Academy, I have always admired and respected Senator McCain and his service and sacrifice to this country. And to have this opportunity yesterday and honor him in that way, it is something we will never forget at the Ceremonial Guard.

BALDWIN: Was there any one particular moment that really stood out for you of all day yesterday?

REYES: All day?

It was -- oh, it was a blur of emotions. And when I was on the curbside next to the caisson and seen the family following the casket down the steps from the chapel, and Mrs. McCain and the family right behind, that -- that was an image that I will always remember.

BALDWIN: Commander Ronel Reyes, thank you so much. Thank you for your service.

REYES: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you. Coming up next: A Texas doctor is trying to walk back comments that

he made that female physicians don't get paid as much as men because they -- quote, unquote -- "don't work as hard." So, we will talk to a doctor who devoted herself to gender equity in medicine to discuss why attitudes like this still persist.



BALDWIN: All right, on this Labor Day, a doctor in Texas is facing major backlash from female professionals after saying there is a gender pay gap in medicine because women -- quote -- "don't work as hard."

His name is Dr. Gary Tigges. He made these remarks in the September issue of "The Dallas Medical Journal."

And so I want just to read the whole thing for you.

Quoting the doctor: "Female physicians do not work as hard and do not see as many patients as male physicians. This is because they choose to or they simply don't want to be rushed or they don't want to work the long hours. Most of the time, their priority is something else, family, social, whatever. Nothing needs to be done about this, unless female physicians actually want to work harder and put in the hours. If not, they should be paid less."


Dr. Tigges quickly realized he had ticked off the wrong group of women, working moms, responding with tweets like this: "I would love to fill in your knowledge gaps, but I'm tired from working 24-plus hours doing heart transplants. Based on national gender pay gap data, the last five hours of which I worked for free, I guess you think that's OK, though, because I am a mom of four."

Tigges issued this statement on his practice's Web site -- quote -- "I have heard from several trusted female physician colleagues who disagree with and are deeply hurt and offended by the comments. I sincerely apologize to all female physicians for my comments and the pain they have caused."

So, let's unpack this today.

Dr. Esther Choo, she is a physician and founder of general equity consulting firm Equity Quotient.

It is a pleasure to have you on, Dr. Choo.

And let's get to it, because a lot of women are actually, in addition to obviously criticizing this physician, they're criticizing "The Dallas Medical Journal" for even publishing these remarks in the first place. How do you feel?

DR. ESTHER CHOO, FOUNDER, EQUITY QUOTIENT: I was disappointed, but not surprised.

I mean, it is really not just about Dr. Tigges. He is just a representative voice of commonly held views out there in medicine. And we see those view played out every day in the way that women physicians are treated. So, it was disappointing, but certainly not a surprise to me.

BALDWIN: OK. So, then when you read this, you had tweeted out that Tigges' assertions are not supported by actual data.

So, let's work in truth and fact here. What are some of the data points as to why women are paid less?

CHOO: Well, we know really well from the literature over the past 10 years that -- we know that it's none of the things that people think it is.

So, the things that Dr. Tigges mentions and, actually, the things that other people mention in that same article, things like choice of specialty or hours worked or clinical