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CNN NEWSROOM

Poison Water in Flint Making Residents Sick; Trump/Cruz Launch Attack Ads; Trump Could Be Called as Bergdahl Trial Witness; Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 22, 2016 - 14:30   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[14:30:00] LEEANNE WALTERS, MOTHER OF TWO & FLINT RESIDENT: The size he is right now is pretty much the size he was last February, February 5th of 2015.

GUPTA (on camera): Almost a year?

WALTERS: Almost a year ago. Yes.

GUPTA: How much does he weigh versus his twin?

WALTERS: He's 38.5 pounds and his twin is 53 pounds.

GUPTA (voice-over): For months, they had been drinking the same water. But Gavin was showing the effects of being poisoned by lead. And such is the nature of lead poisoning, it can affect people differently, even twins.

(on camera): Do you remember what the number was?

WALTERS: 6.5.

GUPTA: And what is normal?

WALTERS: Nothing. There's no safe exposure to lead.

GUPTA (voice-over): It's a mantra repeated by doctors all over the world, no lead, not even a little bit, is acceptable. Because we know more than ever what it does to the body.

When lead is ingested or inhaled, no organ in the body is spared. Lead even attacks the DNA, affecting not just you, but your future children. All of it essentially irreversible. Equally frustrating, the symptoms could show up now or years from now.

WALTERS: Wait, watch and see. How do you live your life like that?

GUPTA (on camera): It's upsetting.

WALTERS: He's four.

GUPTA (voice-over): The lead was coming from the corroded pipes carrying the water. The longer the water was in the pipes, the more hazardous it came.

(on camera): One of the problems is that the Walters' house is one of the furthest away from the treatment facility. It partly explains why the testing here was among the highest, 13,000 parts per billion. To give you context, five parts per billion would be cause for concern. 5,000 parts per billion is related to toxic waste. This home, 13,000 parts per billion.

But it's not just one home. It's an entire community. 100,000 people live here, 10,000 of whom are under the age of 6, and they're the one's that are most at risk.

DR. MONA HANNA-ATTISHA, PEDIATRICIAN: When pediatricians hear anything about lead, we absolutely freak out.

GUPTA (voice-over): It wasn't a freak-out at first, but doctors in Flint started hearing whispers about elevated lead levels in the water in 2014. So this Doctor Mona Hanna-Attisha started looking at lead levels in her young patients. What she found was shocking.

HANNA-ATTISHA: The percentage doubled in the city of Flint. In some neighborhoods, it actually tripled.

GUPTA: She sounded the alarm to state officials as loudly as she could. No one listened. Instead --

HANNA-ATTISHA: We were attacked. I was called an unfortunate researcher, that I was causing hysteria and that the state's numbers were not consistent with ours.

GUPTA: Maybe denial was so easy because of this. Flint, a city surrounded by some of the largest fresh water lakes in the world, was now delivering some of the world's most contaminated water to its citizens.

(on camera): In October of 2014, General Motors, you say, stopped using the water because it was corroding their parts.

HANNA-ATTISHA: Right.

GUPTA: That seems like a pretty obvious clue.

HANNA-ATTISHA: Yeah. There were red flags. So alarms should have been going off in people's brains. If it's corroding engine parks, what is it doing to our plumbing that is predominantly lead based?

GUPTA (voice-over): Water that could corrode engine parts. Imagine what it was doing to the body and brain of Gavin.

HANNA-ATTISHA: These people did nothing wrong. They did nothing wrong, except being poor.

RICK SNYDER, (R), GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN: In May, Professor Marc Edwards, from Virginia Tech, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha sounded an alarm about lead in Flint's water.

GUPTA (on camera): The governor says, look, you can have anything you want. Anything, Mona.

HANNA-ATTISHA: I want a rewind button to 2014 --

(LAUGHTER)

-- that's what I want, because you can't undo this. You cannot undo this.

GUPTA: If there's ever been a U.S. city in need of a rewind button, it's Flint, Michigan. More than a third of people here live in poverty. Life expectancy is 10 to 20 years shorter than the rest of the state. There's not a full-scale grocery anywhere in sight.

HANNA-ATTISHA: And then we got lead. And if you were to think of something to put in a population to keep them down for this generation and generations to come, it would be lead. I have a loss of words.

GUPTA: But they, Dr. Mona, Leann, the 100,000 citizens of Flint, have to believe that clean water will return one day soon.

(on camera): Do you know why people have been putting you on TV lately?

GAVIN WALTERS, SON OF LEEANN WALTERS: Yeah.

GUPTA: Why?

GAVIN WALTERS: Because they want to --

GUPTA: Yeah.

GAVIN WALTERS: -- so they could see us.

GUPTA: Because you're handsome.

GAVIN WALTERS: Yep.

GUPTA: Yep.

(voice-over): Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Flint, Michigan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[14:34:32] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Incredible.

Sanjay, thank you so much.

Coming up, the knives are out. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz launching attack ads while frustrated Jeb supporters shift blame to the $100 million super PAC that supports him. Talking politics, that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Turning to the race for 2016, the race for Iowa just 10 days away. And a man who say he is doesn't need to take out TV ads to get votes released his first TV attack ad against -- any guesses? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want immigration reform to pass. And that allows those here illegally to come in out of the shadows.

BRET BAIR, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: That amendment would have allowed undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. How do you square that circle?

CRUZ: Actually, Brett, it wouldn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: In another ad Ted Cruz fires back by slamming Trump's New York values.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Imminent domain, a fancy term for politicians seizing private property to enrich the fat cats who bankroll them, like Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I think eminent domain is wonderful.

ANNOUNCER: It made him rich, like when Trump colluded with Atlantic City insiders to bulldoze the home of an elderly widow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let's talk about this with CNN political commentator, Ryan Lizza, who is also Washington correspondent for the "New Yorker."

And clearly staying home. We appreciate that with the snow out your window.

Ryan Lizza, good to see you.

I've got to get your response to the "National Review." 22 writers coming together, the cover of the magazine, against Trump, disowning Trump. Your response to this?

[14:40:19] RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just wonder if it's too little too late for the right to organize itself against this candidacy. The case against Trump from the conservative point of view was evidenced last summer when he announced. And it's kind of amazing that it's taken this long for the intellectual establishment of the Republican Party to join hands and make the case the way that these 22 authors in the National Review did. You have a piece coming out on Sunday that gets into a lot of this. I wonder if folks at the "National Review" and other intellectuals in the party don't really understand what's going on in their own party. The grassroots is not receptive to these pointy headed conservative ideological fights. There's something about Trump that defies all that that the grass roots loves right now.

BALDWIN: 10 days out from Iowa, 10 days and this drops. Let me ask you about Jeb Bush.

LIZZA: And it cost the magazine its partnership in the debate. Kudos that they stuck to their guns and did what they believed.

BALDWIN: Jeb Bush has a new ad out. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: When push comes to shove, people are going to realize Jeb has real solutions.

Rather than talking about how popular they are or how great they are he's doing it because he sees a huge need and it's not being filled by anybody. Of all the people running, he seems to be the one who could solve the problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Wanted to play the ad but wanted your response from the "New York Times" talking about them blaming the super PAC, saying it didn't help enough. Your thoughts on that?

LIZZA: Look, the super PAC decided they were going to run positive ads on Jeb and try to tell his story rather than go after the front runner last fall. They, like frankly everyone else in politics, figured Trump would collapse naturally, I guess. They didn't have to go out there and take him down. It would. Happen on its own the way that previous candidates like Trump have collapsed. Obviously, that didn't happen and it's being second guessed. You can always second guess in politics if your candidate doesn't win, but the reason they did that was sound at the time.

This ad that Barbara Bush is running is really interesting. She's one of the more popular members of the family. It wasn't his brother, of course. I still believe that this will come down to a three-person race. We don't know the identity of the third person. We know the first two names. We know Cruz and Trump, but there's almost half of the Republican electorate --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Mystery candidate.

LIZZA: One of them will emerge.

BALDWIN: Ryan Lizza, thank you very much. Look forward to reading your piece. Ryan in Washington, thanks.

LIZZA: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, the defense attorney for Bowe Bergdahl says he may call Donald Trump to the stand in the case against the Army sergeant. He will explain why, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:47:48] BALDWIN: Donald Trump may be called as a witness in the trial of Bowe Bergdahl. Trump has been scathing in his attacks against the Army sergeant kidnapped by the Taliban after leaving his post in 2009. Trump calling him a rotten, no-good traitor who should have been executed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Believe me, folks. They want to kill everybody here. They want to kill everybody there. So we get this dirty, rotten, no-good traitor who 20 years ago would have been shot.

Everybody was saying he walked off, he's a traitor. And they said he's a whack job, but we made this deal knowing. I would have said, really, he's a traitor, pass, let them have him.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Frankly, frankly, I would fetch the (EXPLETIVE DELETED), and I'd fly him back and drop him right over the top.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Bergdahl, who was swapped for five Taliban commanders in a controversial exchange, is facing a military trial, a trial his lawyer says is poisoned by Trump's fiery claims.

Bergdahl's lawyer is now joining me, Eugene Fidell.

Eugene, nice to have you on.

EUGENE FIDELL, ATTORNEY FOR BOWE BERGDAHL: My pleasure.

BALDWIN: You are his lawyer and a military law attorney at Yale Law School.

Let's begin with this. You have yet to make a decision, at least that we know of publicly, whether you will be calling Donald Trump as a witness. My question is what are you waiting to hear him say or do to compel you to change your mind?

FIDELL: First, I'd like to mention that none of my comments today should be construed in any way of barring on the fitness to be president and what people should do in a political nature. I just want to lay that on the table. That's not my function and not why I'm here talking with you.

BALDWIN: This is about your client.

[14:49:43] FIDELL: Exactly right. With my co-counsel, wonderful uniformed lawyers working with me on this case, we have been monitoring Mr. Trump's statements for some time. In fact, if you don't mind, I'm going to hold this up for the camera. This is the now eight-page log that we have of some of the various appalling comments that Mr. Trump has made in an effort to -- it's like a lynch mob, actually, to incite ill will and vilification of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Any comments he's made at various places around the country, I only have this up to date until January 20th in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he appeared with Sarah Palin. There's been a pattern here that is so extensive that it has certainly raised in the mind of the defense team whether Sergeant Bergdahl's right to a fair trial has been irreparably compromised by Donald Trump's comments. He has the right to say whatever he wants, thank God, under the First Amendment. I believe he believes in the constitution. I believe strongly in free speech. He may wind up facing a defamation case down the road, but right now my concern is whether he's compromised my client's right to a fair trial. We'd like to continue to monitor his comments.

BALDWIN: You have eight pages and that's just through this past week. So with all of these comments you say the phrase lynch mob, how would you then prove to the judge that all of what he said will absolutely poison the jury pool, prove that this is harmed his ability to receive a fair trial?

FIDELL: I don't want to try the case in the media. I have actually refrained from doing that, talking about the merits of the case.

BALDWIN: But if you talk about the comments, you have to explain a little bit.

FIDELL: Of course. The Uniform Code of Military Justice and the U.S. Constitution provides Sergeant Bergdahl with a trial. Military justice, the jury has to be impartial. There are times when there's such publicity including comments that Donald Trump has made across the country that raise a substantial question, in my mind. We are evaluating this. If we make a motion with respect to whether my client is, in fact, being denied a fair trial, we have to have proof. Mr. Trump -- I shouldn't say will -- may well be part of the proof we would offer. He's subject to being called as a witness. Court martials are courts of law. If we make that decision, I would certainly very carefully consider whether he should be on the witness stand instead of in front of addressing people at a rally.

BALDWIN: Speaking of publicity, I have to ask you about this new podcast. We have talked about it here on CNN. The season focuses on your client. We hear Bowe Bergdahl himself for the first time through these fascinating taped conversations and some pretty scathing accounts. I'm just curious your thoughts on that and on the flip side, would you be concerned that, too, could poison a fair trial?

FIDELL: Well, I'm listening as many -- I guess as millions of other people are to the "Serial" podcast with great interest. There was a segment the other morning, I have to get up at 6:00 a.m. to listen to them first thing. They are extremely interesting. I'm going to withhold judgment on their overall impact until the series has run its course. I'm certainly comfortable telling you I have learned a number of interesting things from them and certainly the defense is going to be following that very closely.

BALDWIN: Eugene Fidell, thank you so much for your time, sir. Appreciate it. More on the breaking news, the snow beginning to fall in Washington,

D.C. That's the bull's eye for the storm. We'll take you there live, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:58:47] BALDWIN: Sundance set to screen a film starred in a directed by Actor Don Cheadle. "Miles Ahead," on jazz great Miles Davis. Cheadle plays Davis in the film and makes his debut as the director.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is in Park city, Utah, where the festival is underway today.

Stephanie Elam, you got to talk to Don Cheadle. How was it?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was one of my favorite conversations. It was so real about the experience of being a director. He said it was almost a decade-long process to get to where he is. Listen to what he had to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON CHEADLE, ACTOR: I was an emotional wreck for a lot of it, to be honest. I don't think I would ever do it like this again.

ELAM: Really?

CHEADLE: I don't think it's smart to do it like this. Because it was the only way I was able to do it and, two or three years ago, I tried to find another director to take it on because I've appreciated what was about to -- I thought I understood what was about to come down the pike. I had no idea how much bigger it was going to be than I imagined it. I knew it was going to be a task that was going to challenge me. I had no idea how challenging it would be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ELAM: He said it wasn't until his daughter, who is 19 years old now, said, dad, you're here, you're premiering your film, this is at a New York showing, it's like, you did it.