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Controversial Arizona Election Audit Expected to Be Done This Week; Conservative Talk Show Host Says Audit Becoming a Clown Show; Problem Solvers Push Infrastructure Deal; Interview with Rep. Josh Gottheimer on Infrastructure Legislation; Jewish Democrats Condemn Representative's Remark Comparing U.S. And Israel to Hamas and Taliban; Son Legendary Michigan Coach Says Father Knew About Doctor's Sexual Abuse; Senator Asks Is Earth's Orbit Ca Be Changed to Battle Climate Crisis. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 10, 2021 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: So we've got an update this afternoon on where things stand in the controversial Arizona ballot audit. So far, they say that they've hand counted 1.7 million of the 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County.

A spokesman says that they will be done this week. Now we have to say this time and every time that there has been no evidence of any wrongdoing or fraud in that county, but still several Republican lawmakers from states like Georgia and Pennsylvania have made political pilgrimages to Arizona to see how this is being done.

But the way that it's happening there has led a conservative talk radio show host in Phoenix to change his mind. Mike Broomhead, two time Trump voter once backed the Arizona audit. But last week he had had enough and he said this about GOP officials conducting the process.

He said that you are turning this into a clown show that you have been accused of, you're turning this into the sideshow at the state fair.

Well, Mike Broomhead is with me now. Mike, thanks for being with me. You never believed that the 2020 election was stolen as some others believe, but you didn't have a problem with the audit. When did they lose you?

MIKE BROOMHEAD, HOST OF "THE MIKE BROOMHEAD SHOW" ON KTAR: They lost me -- and let me just back up for a moment. You know, the Democrats in 2016, Hillary Clinton, Russian collusion, both parties had done this, and so I just thought at this point I didn't have a problem with them doing it.

Where they lost me was hiring a company that really had no experience, there were a lot of mistakes that were made at the beginning of this that they did not seem to clean up. And there were mistakes made throughout this that I think were alienating people that just wanted to get to the truth and looked like many of these people already had a conclusion that they were trying to find instead of a scientific experiment to get to the truth.

BLACKWELL: You have heard some of the organizers talking about using black lights to try find bamboo or if the Italians are involved in some way. What we have heard from some GOP Senators there -- State Senators in Arizona, is that they are trying to debunk conspiracies not fuel them. What's your response to that characterization?

BROOMHEAD: I understand, I've heard, you know, Senator Fann -- I know Senator Fann, the Senate president, pretty well. I respect her greatly and I understand when they say that except when you feed into these rumors it makes it worse.

When you look at the Twitter account from the people that are operating it -- and we don't know who is operating the Twitter account -- the Twitter account seems to insinuate that people have done the wrong thing. That there are people that are involved in a cover-up and that they are getting to the bottom of some of these things. And we have not seen any evidence of that and I think it's become more of a distraction than help.

BLACKWELL: What do you think this means for your party?

BROOMHEAD: Yes, that's what I am concerned about. We have six major races including the governor's office here, and Mark Kelly's Senate seat, our Attorney General's race in less than a year and a half. And as Republicans, we have watched our majority deteriorate in the state legislature to one seat in both the House and Senate and we have seen a lot of these things happen within the last ten years. Not to mention that both of our Senators that represent us in D.C. are now Democrats.

From a Republican point of view we should be unified and focused on beating the Democrats, and what we're seeing now is a division within our party when someone like I speaks up, you know, you are kind of alienated for saying it. I just want us to be on the same team.

BLACKWELL: Now, you're talking about statewide races but you've got Republican leaders from Pennsylvania, and Alaska, and Georgia, and Virginia, either inquiring or actually visiting the fairgrounds there. Do think this puts your party the potential to regain the majority in 2022 or the White House in 2024 in jeopardy?

BROOMHEAD: That's yet to be seen, more for me it's the energy and the money being raised. We should be laser focused on the future and trying to do from what our perspective is fix things that are happening.

You know, the first time we've seen since Bill Clinton, we have seen a presidential candidate win in the vote year and trying to overturn that somehow or prove that it was a fluke or that it was fraudulent, I don't think helps us in trying to defeat that president moving forward. I don't know think any of it is a help. I don't know if it's going to hurt yet, but that's what scares me. BLACKWELL: The last question here, two-time Trump voter, the president

has fueled this lie of mass voter fraud, thousands of dead people voting. Would you vote for him again if he ran in 2024?

BROOMHEAD: I guess it would depend on who ran against him, I voted for him twice.


If it was a head to head vote against Joe Biden, I would vote for him again, I like the policies, and I didn't agree with some of the things that were said or done, but I did like the policies better than what we're seeing now. I live in a border state and I thought the border policies, what we have now are tougher. So yes, in this case if it was a head-to-head right now I would.

BLACKWELL: Mike Broomhead, Thanks for your time.

BROOMHEAD: Thank you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, up next, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar taking a lot of heat from her own party, for comparing the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban. How she's responding.



BLACKWELL: So there is a possible breakthrough for an infrastructure deal today. Senator Mitt Romney says a bipartisan group of Senators has agreed to an overall dollar amount for a deal and how to pay for the package.

But some of the Democrats in that group say it's a stretch to claim that this is a done deal. Over in the House a bipartisan group of lawmakers known as the "problem solvers," has proposed an infrastructure bill of their own. The price tag of that one $1.2 trillion. Now they hope that this will be an agreeable middle ground. But many Democrats are now saying it's time to go it alone.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): I have no confidence that this bipartisan group will reach a deal. They should have a limited amount of time to do so but I really think it's time to pull the plug now and take action promptly, robustly, because every indication is that Republicans simply aren't serious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ready to move on to a Democratic reconciliation process?

SEN. ANGUS KING (R-ME): No, I think that talks are still going on and I'm hopeful.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: All right, joining me now is the cochair of the "problem solvers" caucus, Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey. Congressman, thanks for being with me. Let's first get your reaction to what you heard there from Senator Blumenthal.

REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D-NJ): Listen, I just came out of weeks of working together with Democrats and Republicans and as you mentioned the "problem solvers" caucus, 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans. We came to an agreement for what level of spending we should have, what should be included in that. We're working now with our group of Senators that we have been for nearly a month on the pay for side and how we are going to pay for this.

But, you know, I think we have got a lot of people willing to keep sitting at the table. You've heard good positive indications out of the White House. So I don't know why we've pulled the plug on good bipartisan work. This is what the country wants and a deal is within reach, so I don't know why we would back off of it.

BLACKWELL: So you say that you have been working for a while on how to pay for it. That really is the center of this conversation, not just the overall number or the new spending. But if the 2017 tax bill will be opened up to change, how this will be paid for, have you agreed on how to pay for it?

GOTTHEIMER: Well, we have a series of options that we've all talked about now for a period of time. You said that's difficult, that's completely right. But actually given the scope of how many things are potentially included in infrastructure, that was also just getting it narrowed down to where we could get a good bipartisan agreement on physical infrastructure.

The hardened structure of water, bridges, tunnels, roads, green energy, including electric vehicle support, support for rural broadband. All of that in getting that down was obviously critically important.

And then how much we put behind it, you saw that we agreed to $1.25 trillion, which obviously is in terms of a good bipartisan agreement, I think a great step forward. And we've been working with our Senate colleagues now in a bipartisan way to limit that down. You know, and I see a lot of opportunity to do so including things like obviously going after those who are tax cheats and not paying what they should --


GOTTHEIMER: -- on user fees -- yes, yes.

BLACKWELL: I hear that, but what I did not hear is that you reached an agreement on how to pay for it. We've heard the breaking news from Senator Mitt Romney saying that the group of ten bipartisan group of Senators, they have reached how to pay for their legislation. Shouldn't that be the one that's moving forward since that's the biggest question here? GOTTHEIMER: No, No that's -- listen if they're there, that's terrific.

And we've been working closely together so our plans are very similar, working with Senators Cassidy, and Romney and Senator Sinema and Manchin and others, who have very -- obviously, if they're there, we've been obviously working together, that's great news. And I think the "problem solving" caucus would really be eager to see all the details.

That's the bottom line though where you started this conversation, is there's a lot of hope for a bipartisan deal, and to me we have to keep sitting at the table and working on it especially as close as we are to getting it done.

BLACKWELL: You have got 10 Republicans who will back yours in the Senate?

GOTTHEIMER: Well, in the conversations as you know there are more than 5 Republicans who I am eager to hear exactly who's at the table and who signed off on it, just like you are. I'm eager to hear.

But the bottom line is I'll tell you we got 29 Republicans in the House who backed with along with the 29 Republicans in the "problem solvers" who backed our package, and you know, we've got to keep working on this and get it done.

BLACKWELL: Let me move on to one other topic here. You are one of a dozen Jewish Democrats who are asking Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to clarify her tweet, which read in part: We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.

We know that Speaker Pelosi is now asking for a clarification as well. This is one of the tweets she sent out today.


It's shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support, to now put out a statement asking for clarification and not just call. The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment and silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.

So to her point, why didn't you just call her?

GOTTHEIMER: I have tried to reach her in the past but never got a call back.

BLACKWELL: Did you try to reach her after this tweet?

GOTTHEIMER: But, no, frankly after the number of comments that have come out over the years frankly like this one, it's just appalling. I mean the difference between free speech and debate, which of course I encourage, and this false equivalency as our leadership and Speaker Pelosi said earlier, the false equivalency between democracies like the United States and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban, and comparing the United States and Israel, that false equivalency is, you know, it's unacceptable to say the least.

It undermines our national security and it leads to more anti- Semitism. So I think she should probably be calling all of us, and I hope she does to clarify her comments. Because I'll tell you it's completely and totally unacceptable.

BLACKWELL: All right, Congressman Josh Gottheimer, Thanks for your time, sir.

GOTTHEIMER: Thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: OK, next this story. The son of a legendary Michigan football coach goes public with a secret that he has held for years.



CAMEROTA: Startling allegations from the son of a sports legend. The son of late Michigan football coach, Bo Schembechler, publicly revealed that he told his father that he'd been molested by the team doctor and his father refused to protect him.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus joins us now with more of the allegations. So Adrienne, it's not just him, Schembechler's son, Matt, also said that his father knew that other athletes were being sexually abused.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn, Matt said his father betrayed him and some of the other players. We heard three painful stories of abuse today starting with the coach's son, Matt. He is the adopted son of the legendary University of Michigan former football coach Bo Schembechler.

His son alleged the University's former physician, Dr. Robert Anderson assaulted him multiple times starting back in 1969, today he spoke about the incident publicly.

He said he said he was ten years old. He said he was in the fourth grade and it was his father, Bo, who sent him to that doctor. Here is a little bit of what he said.


MATT SCHEMBECHLER, SON OF LEGENDARY MICHIGAN COACH: As a 10-year-old kid, I didn't really know what to expect. But what Dr. Anderson did make me uncomfortable. He fondled my genitals. He conducted an invasive rectal exam with his finger.

I told my mom as soon as I got home as I was uncomfortable and shaken. She was a registered nurse and after she had heard what Anderson did, she knew something was wrong. And she wanted me to tell my dad in her presence.

When Bo got home, I told him what happened. That did not go well. Bo's temper was legendary and he lost it. He screamed I don't want to hear this. I'm not hearing this. I tried to tell him repeatedly but my effort earned me a punch in the chest. This was the beginning of the end of a relationship with him. I hope my father would protect me, but he didn't.


BROADDUS (on camera): Meanwhile, Matt said today that abuse was allowed to happen at the university because the students' health and safety was not put first but instead the reputation of a university was placed above the health and safety of the students. Now the doctor died in 2008. He was a physician with the school from 1966 up until 2003 -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: What a devastating personal story to share there by the son. Adrienne Broaddus, thank you very much for that.

So next, the climate crisis is fueling wildfires and extreme drought but when one Republican lawmaker had a chance to talk to the Forest Service, he had an unusual suggestion.


REP. LOUIS GOHMERT (R-TX): Change the course of the moon's orbit or the earth's orbit around the sun.




CAMEROTA: Listen to this statistic. Nearly a third of the population in the continental U.S. is now living in drought conditions. The situation is especially dire in the west. More than 15 million people are facing exceptional drought conditions.

BLACKWELL: Little to no rainfall is expected in the hardest-hit states over the next week, and in California that has led to water use restrictions for more than 2 million people. Now, of course, a lot of this extreme weather is fueled by climate change. Which brings us to an interesting question posed during a House hearing with the National Forest Service.

CAMEROTA: So Texas Republican Louis Gohmert had this idea for a way to battle the climate crisis. And remember he's asking the Forest Service for this.


REP. LOUIS GOHMERT (R-TX): I was informed by the past director of NASA that they have found that the moon's orbit is changing slightly and so is the earth's orbit around the sun. And we know there's been significant solar flare activities. And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or BLM can do to change the course of the moon's orbit or the earth's orbit around the sun? Obviously, that would have profound effects on our climate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would have to follow up with you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.


CAMEROTA: OK, so while that baffled Forest Service official looks into that, listen to what astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says when asked by New Day's John Berman.


NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON, ASTROPHYSICIST, PLANETARY SCIENTIST, SCIENCE COMMUNICATOR: I don't see -- you know, it sounds a little crazy. But what he's speaking of is something we call geo-engineering. It's doing large-scale things that have large-scale consequences.

We already kind of do that. We change the direction of rivers. We dam rivers for our service. We build islands where there was just water before. That's all geo-engineering. And we're also geo-engineering by warming the planet.

So if he wants to think of a geo-engineering solution that can help it, I don't have a problem with that, even if it's a little out there. And people have thought about maybe putting sparkly, reflective particles above the clouds that reflect away more sunlight. That would be easier than changing earth's orbit.

So I don't have a problem with people thinking about that. I would rather though you address the source of the problem rather than after the fact attempt to solve it.


CAMEROTA: OK, so, Congressman Louis Gohmert is just a big thinker.

BLACKWELL: You know, this is the first time I've heard this sound bite.

CAMEROTA: Me, too.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I am still just --

CAMEROTA: Processing.

BLACKWELL: -- that he didn't just dismiss it out of hand.

CAMEROTA: No, I like his take on it. He was like, OK, OK, that's geo- engineering, all right. We should think about that. I mean he's just taking any suggestion.


CAMEROTA: Though his point is maybe we could be proactive and do something to fight climate change rather than changing the earth's orbit. That seems, I don't know, excessive.

BLACKWELL: It's a stretch. You know, when I first heard the Gohmert sound bite, I thought he was being like a bit tongue and cheek. Like that he wasn't serious about it but maybe he was.

CAMEROTA: Oh, he was serious there.

BLACKWELL: OK and BLM is Bureau of Land Management, not Black Lives Matter. I know some people are thinking, like what does he want BLM - Bureau of Land Management. Just being clear.

CAMEROTA: Very glad you clarified that.

BLACKWEL: All right, The Lead with Jake Tapper starts right now.