Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Verdict Expected in Police Shooting of Walter Scott; Newt Gingrich Comments on Mitt Romney; Trump to Meet Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp; Trump, Pence Begin Thank-You Tour; Convicted Self-Help Guru James Arthur Ray Hopes to Change His Life. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired December 1, 2016 - 11:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:31:42] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news out of Jacksonville, Florida. Police say 11 people are now safe after a gunman took them hostage inside a credit union.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Police also say the suspect was taken into custody just moments ago, and that in the end, thankfully, no one was hurt. A news conference is set to begin very, very soon. We will bring that to you when it starts.

BERMAN: That is good news.

BOLDUAN: Yeah.

BERMAN: Any minute now, we could get a verdict in the case of a South Carolina police officer charged with murder. Former North Charleston Officer Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott in April of last year. Part of the encounter was captured on cell phone video.

BOLDUAN: Scott was not armed. He died after three shots to the back.

Officer Slager, he took the stand to defend himself just this week and testified that Scott posed a threat to him.

Boris Sanchez is outside the courtroom with much, much more.

Boris, this is day two of deliberations. What are you hearing? Is a decision imminent?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Kate. No indication that a decision is imminent yet. They have been deliberating for about an hour and a half today after going for about an hour last night. And plenty for this jury to think about. Two very stark points by the defense and the prosecution in this case. The defense telling the jury that they need to ignore that video that went viral in making their decision. They say that everything that's important in this case happened beforehand. They claim that Slager was in a scuffle with Walter Scott and that, at one point, Scott grabbed his taser and aimed it at him, and that is what warranted Slager opening fire.

They went as far as to say that the investigation itself was colored by the release of that tape, that investigators that were collecting evidence assumed that Slager was guilty after that video of him shooting Walter Scott went viral.

They also went on to say there was a media-driven narrative to try to put Michael Slager in a box with other police officers that have had violent encounters African-Americans, saying the media created a false narrative around him.

The prosecution, as you can imagine, painting a different picture, telling the jury specifically that everything they need to know in making their decision is on that video. They say it shows the moment Walter Scott was killed, that he wasn't a threat to Michael Slager. And also, they say. the video shows the inconsistencies that were in Michael Slager's initial reporting to the investigating officers on scene, that didn't tell the whole story that Saturday morning.

They also again show the moments that Walter Scott was killed, with his family in the courtroom. So much for the jury to think about. Very, very emotional case, as you can imagine - John and Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

We're keeping very close watch there with you.

Boris, thank you so much, in Charleston.

We will bring it to you when the jury has come out with their decision.

[11:34:32] But we are also keeping an eye on LaGuardia Airport. We will show you a live look of the airport where Donald Trump will soon be taking off for Indianapolis, Indiana. Pretty great state, I have to say. He's going to be heading to the Carrier plant and will make remarks there after a big announcement. Then it's off to Ohio to kick off his thank-you tour. Details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: A live look at LaGuardia Airport. Donald Trump set to take off very, very soon heading to Indiana to highlight a deal he struck with heating and air conditioning company Carrier.

BERMAN: From there, he heads on his USA thank-you tour. That's what they are calling it. The first stop is in Cincinnati tonight.

Let's talk about this and so much more with John Jay LaValle; a regional vice chair of the New York Republican State Committee and Donald Trump supporter, long-time Trump supporter; Amanda Carpenter, CNN political commentator, former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz; and Bakari Sellers, CNN political commentator, former Democratic House member in South Carolina who was a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Guys, we will talk about Indiana, we will talk about Carrier, and this thank-you tour coming up. We have done quite a bit on that already. But I want to play some sound from Newt Gingrich yesterday, who went

on the radio talking about this secretary of state selection process, and he had what I consider to be some fairly incredible words about Mitt Romney. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:40:16] NEWT GINGRICH, (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE (voice- over): You have never, ever in your career seen serious adult who is wealthy, independent, has been a presidential nominee, suck up at the rate that Mitt Romney is sucking up. I mean, I am confident that he thinks now that Donald Trump is one of his closest friends, that they have so many things in common, that they are both such wise, brilliant people. And I'm sure last night, at an elegant three-star restaurant in New York, that Mitt was fully at home, happy to share his vision of populism, which involved a little foie gras, a certain amount of superb cooking, but was done in a populist, happy manner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: John Jay LaValle, you're a Trump supporter. I'm asking you this as a human being because my reaction to that is, oh, my.

What's going on?

JOHN JAY LAVALLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Those are pretty tough words -

(LAUGHTER)

-- no doubt about it. You got me there. This was obviously a very emotional election.

(CROSSTALK)

LAVALLE: As our party unites -- and that's exactly what Donald Trump is trying to achieve, and exactly wat he should be trying to achieve -- you are going to have hard feelings. There are individuals who were obviously very staunch supporters of Donald Trump's, and were defending him at times when Governor Romney was attacking him. I think some of those people will be real upset about that, that they are making friends. But at the end of the day, we do have to come together. Now, what selections Donald Trump makes, Donald Trump is going to make.

BERMAN: Don't tell me. Tell Speaker Gingrich.

LAVALLE: But, listen, you are asking me and I'm telling you.

(LAUGHTER)

If I have the opportunity to speak to Newt, I will speak. It's interesting. But there are -- you saw Kellyanne Conway, who I love, had some interesting words. And then these are obviously much stronger words by the former speaker. There are some emotions flying. But it's important that Donald Trump, as the leader of our party -- and that's who he is right now -- that he brings this party together and brings everyone on board. Some people aren't going to be happy. But at the end of the day, I think the ultimate selections are going to be the right selections for our country.

BOLDUAN: Amanda, I want to get your take on what you heard from Newt Gingrich. Tell us how you really feel, Newt. Because, in the end, when it comes to two of the four being floated in this reality show contest, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, if they don't get picked, they are going to be publicly shamed afterwards.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, three points. First of all, Newt Gingrich is probably still licking wounds from the 2012 Republican primary where Mitt Romney beat him.

Secondly, I really don't understand this point where Newt Gingrich is going around telling everybody that Mitt Romney is part of the swamp that needs to be drained. Newt Gingrich needs to look in the mirror and at how he's been living off his career in D.C as speaker of the House. Mitt Romney has made his career in the private sector. I think there's a great deal of hypocrisy there.

Lastly, all the Trump supporters have gone out and said you need to unify behind the nominee, get what Mitt Romney is doing. So, you can't have it both ways. You should just be happy that Mitt Romney has sucked it up and has shown a willingness to help regardless of whether he gets the position or not. That's what Donald Trump needs to do if he should be successful. And I'm glad Donald Trump is not repeating the ridiculous stuff that Newt Gingrich is saying.

BERMAN: Bakari, a little curveball here. There's breaking news. We just learned from the Trump transition call that Donald Trump tomorrow is going to meet with Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp, of North Dakota, a conservative Democrat from a state that is now a Republican state. She's sitting down with the president-elect tomorrow.

And Manu Raju, our reporter on the Hill, just sent a statement from her. It says, "I appreciate the president-elect inviting me for a meeting. Every single day, my work is motivated first and foremost by how I can be most helpful to the people of North Dakota. They are my driving force and have been throughout my career in public service. Whatever job I do" -- remember those words -- "I hope to work with the president-elect and all of my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle to best support my state."

She's saying whatever job I do. What do you make of this meeting tomorrow?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Best of luck to her. I'm glad that Donald Trump is reaching out to good people. She's one of the best. You can't deny that. I echo the same sentiment I echoed about Mitt Romney being secretary of state. For those of us who were praying for the sake of this country, we hope he begins to surround himself with good people. I never wanted Mitt Romney or Heidi Heitkamp to be part of any cabinet more so than I do today. I mean, you look back at this, you have a secretary of education who doesn't like public education. You have a HUD secretary who doesn't appreciate the Fair Housing Act. You have an attorney general who doesn't appreciate or like the Voting Rights Act. So, yes, we are in dire need of good people in the cabinet. So, if she happens to end up there, god bless her.

[11:45:15] BOLDUAN: God bless her, Bakari ends with.

Let's talk about Carrier just a bit, John. 1,000 jobs remaining in Indiana that would have left. That is to be celebrated. We all decided on that. But it is a far cry from what Trump promised or -- I don't know -- if you could say threatened on the campaign trail. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are going to make air conditioners now in Mexico? Are you going to get all of these 1400 people that are being laid off -- they were laid off. They were crying. It was a very sad situation.

You are going to go to Mexico. You are going to make air conditioners in Mexico. You will put them across our border with no tax.

I will tell them, right now, I'm going to get consensus from Congress and we are going to tax you when those air conditioners come. So, stay where you are or build in the United States. Because we are killing ourselves with trade pacts that are no good for us and no good for our workers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: The company is still sending jobs to Mexico, regardless of this deal. Do you still want to see this company taxed?

LAVALLE: Well, much less jobs and, yes, ultimately, I believe what Donald Trump and his administration is going to put forward is companies that do leave, there will be some adjustments in tariffs and taxes with products coming back to this country. We have to cut the trade deficit. It's a tremendous trade deficit. It must be cut.

So -- but I think we do have to celebrate what he's done without even being sworn in yet, stepping up. And companies know now, there's a message that has gone out with his election. we don't need to have his hand on the Bible yet. Companies know he will be the president, and if they want to deal with this administration, they are going to have to start changing their behavior and they are going to have to start becoming more pro-American and they're going to have to -- that America first agenda will have to be implemented at the private level, as well as at governmental level. This is an exciting time for everyone.

BERMAN: John Jay LaValle, Amanda Carpenter, Bakari Sellers, thanks, guys, very, very much. Great to see you here.

Coming up for us, a former self-help guru hoping to change his own life after three of his followers died in a sweat lodge. But really, is there redemption for James Arthur Ray? He told us the people who died in that sweat lodge were heroes. A woman who was there weighs in, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:51:31] BERMAN: The super stardom of self-help guru, James Arthur Ray, was halted by tragedy in 2009 when three people died in a sweat lodge exercise at one of his retreats. 18 others were hospitalized. This is what Ray told his followers shortly before they went into that sweat lodge. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES ARTHUR RAY, FORMER SELF-HELP GURU: Symbolically, when you're going into a lodge, you're going back into the womb. And symbolically, what you're going to do is to die. It will be the most intense heat that you've ever experienced in your entire life. You will feel as if you're going to die. When you emerge, you will be a different person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Now, Ray was found guilty of negligent homicide. He spent two years in prison. That was the story. That is the story of this week's CNN film, "Enlighten Us."

Julie Minn is a former follower of Arthur Ray and participated in that exercise. She's joining us now.

Julie, thank you so much for joining us.

When you learn about this story -- and you lived this story -- we wonder, why did you trust this man with your life?

JULIE MINN, FORMER FOLLOWER OF JAMES ARTHUR RAY: You know, it was the journey that we took so the trust took over a year to develop. And over time, he proved himself to be trustworthy up to that point.

BERMAN: You know, I had a chance to speak with him this morning. And he spoke about the three followers who you were there with who died in that sweat lodge. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY: James Shore (ph), Liz Newman (ph) and Kirby Brown (ph) were heroes. They're not victims. They really believed in something. And to me, that's heroic. And I hold that in high regard. I think it's disrespectful for them to be portrayed as victim because they really believed in what they were doing. In life, as an entrepreneur, you've got to be willing to give everything you have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I have to confess, I was surprised to hear him put it like that refused to say they were victims. Do you see it like that?

MINN: Well, I -- no I have mixed feelings about that statement. Because I appreciate James, and perhaps labeling the people who chose to follow him in a different -- in a different way, painting them in a different light. However, Kirby, James and Liz, I do feel that they were victimized because they were put -- their rationale thought was compromised and their physical health was compromised. And in those circumstances, they were unable to help themselves. And so, as a result, I do feel like they were victimized.

BOLDUAN: I mean, he is clearly working to make a comeback now, Julie. Do you believe him?

MINN: Do I believe that he's sincere? I believe that he is doing what he believes in. I also believe that he may not take as much responsibility as he's claiming and, therefore, he still poses a threat. I feel like, unless people educate themselves that he could be dangerous, because he is such a persuasive man.

BERMAN: We've got about 20 seconds left. Again, he's back out there working again. What's your message to people who might be persuaded by him?

[11:55:17] MINN: Well, I don't want you to disregard the message, what he has to say, the teachings themselves, they have helped many people. I would caution people to look at the man as well as the message and to educate yourselves first.

BERMAN: Julie Minn, thank you very much for being with us. Really appreciate your time.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

MINN: Thank you, Kate and John.

BERMAN: Such an interesting subject.

I got to say, I mean, I want to see this film again.

The CNN film, "Enlighten Us, The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray," Saturday, at 8:00 p.m., right here on CNN.

BOLDUAN: Coming up, we're keeping an eye -- Donald Trump, Mike Pence, are going to kick off their thank-you tour, as they're calling it, and it will all start at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, where the president-elect is going to be announcing a big deal we've been talking about all throughout the hour. He'll be touting that. And then heading to Ohio to kick off this thank-you tour. We're going to bring you Donald Trump and Mike Pence live when they get there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)