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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Louisiana Governor Press Conference on Shooting Amid Protests; Obama Reserving Course on Afghan Troop Levels; Clinton Speaking in Atlantic City. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired July 6, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:30:00] QUENYETTA MCMILLON, MOTHER OF ALTON STERLING'S SON: The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis. He had to watch this as this was put all over the outlets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The young boy you see there standing with his mother was actually -- or is the son of Sterling in this case. So that family's search for answers continues.
In the meantime, we just heard from officials a few minutes ago, including the Louisiana governor, asking for any demonstrations to remain peaceful, as they have been. But the main headline now, federal authorities, the U.S. attorney's office will now be leading this investigation, as well as Louisiana state police, to determine whether or not the shooting of 37-year-old Alton Sterling was justified.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you for laying out that.
Let's bring in Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond.
Earlier he had asked the Justice Department to investigate the shooting.
So, Congressman, let me ask you about the news we just heard. The governor, John Bel Edwards, said the lead agency is the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Are you satisfied?
REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND, (D), LOUISIANA: Well, I am. And I think it's very important that our governor did that. I talked to the governor last night. I talked to chief of state police, as well as I talked to the district attorney today, and I think everybody's on the same page, which is this case warrants a very thorough and transparent investigation because we have to make sure that justice is served. And we have to give the community all of the facts and make sure they understand nothing's going to be swept under the rug and that all of the facts will be brought out. I think this is more of a "let's put all hands on deck" to find the facts and to conduct a thorough investigation, and to make sure you do have some outside people who can make sure that everything's on the up and up.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Congressman, I know you've seen the video. The governor described it as disturbing, to say the very least. Also saying he has very serious concerns after what he saw in the video. What are the unanswered questions you want to see the Justice Department get answers to?
RICHMOND: A number of them. One, I would like to see all the video footage, from the store security cameras, from the two body cameras, the dash cam. I would like to know where his hands were. All the audio enhanced. And I think that that is very important.
The other thing is, and this is very important, there is a very deep reservation in the community that justice will ever be served. And part of what we have to do is make sure that everything is investigated thoroughly. So if you just go stay in Louisiana and you look at the Henry Glover case or if you look at the Dan Zinger Bridge case where it took protests and a family fighting for years and years and then the FBI finally came in and uncovered that a number of police officers executed two men in cold blood after Hurricane Katrina, if you are looking at it from community standpoint, especially communities of color, they have a distrust that justice will be served and that law enforcement will investigate other law enforcement thoroughly.
And I think the governor was making a clear point that under his administration and working with the federal government and all of us working together, we're going to make sure that does not happen in this case.
BERMAN: The governor seemed to be working every angle here. He said all hands on deck. He said he'd already been in contact with the White House as well about this case.
One of the unanswered questions of the gun that police say Alton Sterling had. We heard that dispatch call. He was said a man with a gun. In that call, it was suggested he was threatening someone else with the gun. What questions do you have about whether or not he had possession gun?
RICHMOND: We need law enforcement and the FBI and all of the people working on this jointly is to determine where was that gun when the officer felt he needed to use deadly force. I want the facts to come out, is the gun wasn't in Mr. Sterling's pocket. And I think those are the types of things you need to know those facts and you need to get it out to the public quickly and immediately so they know nothing's being swept under the rug. I think if you look at the placement of the gun, if you look at where he was shot, all of those things are things that could have been released to the public yesterday that are facts.
And I think that the fact that you didn't hear from the police chief and others causes real concern from a number of people that have concerns about how transparent, how thorough and how much justice will be served. [11:35:22] BOLDUAN: I know Baton Rouge is your district. We've been
calling for answers since this horrific incident took place. And obviously, it looks like taking steps at this point to see how things play out in Baton Rouge, the governor on it, you on it as well.
Congressman, thank you so much for joining us. We'll have you back on.
RICHMOND: Thanks. Thanks for having me.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
BERMAN: Other news, President Obama made a very important announcement about the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, about troop levels, changing the number of troops that will stay there at the end of this year and beyond.
[11:40:20] BOLDUAN: Drawdown, slowdown, President Obama reversing course, now saying he will be leaving behind more U.S. troops in Afghanistan than originally planned.
BERMAN: The president just announced the U.S. will leave approximately 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through the end of his administration when the next president takes over. This a higher number then planned. It's actually a higher number than the revised plan, which brought down troop levels to 5,500.
Let's get to CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, for some details -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, indeed, the president had a plan in place there for some time. About 9,800 troops in Afghanistan right now. The whole idea has been to drawdown to 8,400 -- pardon me, to 5,500, and now today's announcement will keep it at 8,400, at least until the end of the Obama administration in January. Any new president can change anything they want about that.
But why the change? Well, Afghanistan really military commanders have looked at this for some months and really agreed more troops were needed. The Taliban has been resurgent in certain areas, especially in the south and in the east. And why is that? Well, Afghanistan's not a country where there's been a strong tradition of central governance and central security structures. There is an army, some 300,000-plus trained. But are they really equipped, ready trained to go out into those far remote areas everywhere and deal with the Taliban, the remnants of al Qaeda and possibly even ISIS? No, they are not. So you're going to see more troops staying.
There's been another decision several weeks back that perhaps laid the groundwork for this, the president deciding to loosen the rules a bit on when U.S. troops can attack the Taliban. That will put some additional muscle power against that threat -- John, Kate?
BOLDUAN: Big announcement out of the White House.
Barbara Starr, with details from the Pentagon. Barbara, thank you.
Back to the campaign trail we go. Hillary Clinton heading to Atlantic City today. She'll be speaking live in just a few minutes. It's a pretty sure bet she'll be hammering Trump and his business ventures in that city. Will she speak for the first time about the announcement she won't be facing charges relating to her use of a private e-mail server? We'll bring it live when it happens.
[11:47:00] BOLDUAN: Hillary Clinton is taking her fight to Atlantic City today. You see the podium getting set up. She'll be standing right next to what was Trump Plaza. She is clearly expected to shock and rip into the billionaire's business record there.
BERMAN: Trump once owned four casinos there, and each ended in bankruptcy.
CNN's senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, traveling with the Clinton campaign.
Jeff, what will we hear?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John and Kate, this is what we call changing the subject or at least trying to change the subject here. The Clinton campaign has long planned this speech, defining Donald Trump as someone who is not necessarily looking out for the best interests of the average American. She is trying to do that today here in Atlantic City. At the hotel behind me, you can see the sketches of the letter "Trump Plaza." The Clinton campaign, Hillary Clinton will describe in great detail all of the bankruptcies, four here, from various hotels, and why he is, in her words, "a fraudulent businessman," and he'll not be fighting for you.
But the challenge here, of course, is Donald Trump is already hitting back, saying the challenge of Atlantic City were here before he was here, because of Democrats in this area, et cetera. But what the Clinton campaign is trying to do is turn the focus back on to Donald Trump. I'm not sure it will entirely work, though, because the entire focus of Washington and, indeed, the worry inside the Clinton campaign is still the lingering effect here of the FBI directors bombshell announcement yesterday.
BERMAN: Jeff, any sense of when or if Hillary Clinton herself or the Clinton campaign intends to address what Comey said more directly?
ZELENY: Great question. I certainly don't expect it here today in this speech, because it will divert from the message of Donald Trump here. Her aides tell me she does plan to. They know they have to address it at some point, probably, in an interview or something. But so far, they've been absolutely silent about it. They're trying to really determine the damage of this, the lingering damage. They know voters have trust questions and credibility questions with her here. So they are going to respond at some point, but I don't expect will be today.
House Republicans, we've been seeing all morning, Speaker Paul Ryan, and others, going after this hard. We're going to see the FBI director tomorrow on Capitol Hill. So this issue is not going away here. The Clinton campaign knows that. And they're going to try and react to it in some respect, but I don't expert her to do it today here in Atlantic City -- John and Kate?
BERMAN: Jeff Zeleny, on the Boardwalk, thanks so much.
I want to bring back the panel. Joining us, CNN political commentators, Kayleigh McEnany, a Trump supporter; Angela Rye, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. Also joining us now, "New York Times" columnist, Frank Bruni; and CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro.
Ana, you are not on the Trump bandwagon just yet. Based on what's happened over the last --
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Which part of never -- (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) -- do you want me to explain to you?
[11:50:10] BERMAN: But, Ana, yesterday, the FBI Director James Comey laid out a case, explaining why he is not recommending pressing charging. You've seen Capitol Hill calling for hearings. You've seen a certain agreeing of greater unity. May not be on board just yet. But do you think this is a cause that will bring Republicans together and perhaps behind the nominee?
NAVARRO: Oh, I think there was a very unified reason yesterday by Republicans, particularly the base, that you know, the Clintons are above the law. It was very troubling. You're talking about national security. You're talking about a breach of national security. I saw a lot of my Democrats friends celebrating on social media, thinking this meant she was off the hook. She is not. She may not have gotten indicted, technically. But it was a very, very, very harsh verbal indictment she received from the director of the FBI, being accused of extreme recklessness by the director of the FBI, when you are rehearsing and applying to be commander-in-chief, when you are going to be handling such sensitive information, and what you are bringing to the table is your executive experience. It is very troublesome. It is a continuous problem for Hillary Clinton, because it strikes at her soft underbelly, the trustworthiness issue.
I also think it brought a lot of unit unity from Republicans, not necessarily on the Trump front, but because a lot of Republicans feel that if Hillary Clinton wins by too large a margin, by too much of a gap, it is going to hurt the down-ballot ticket tremendously. So you know, it's a cause that unifies Republicans, yes. Does it unify us behind Trump? Not necessarily. I think for a lot of us yesterday was a day where we realized that had the Republican Party actually nominated a normal human being, maybe even an inanimate object and an ameba, maybe we would have won the race yesterday. But since you're talking about Donald Trump --
BERMAN: I think you can stop at ameba.
BOLDUAN: We are where we are.
Frank, we see the picture at the bottom of the screen, we're waiting to hear from Hillary Clinton. Jeff Zeleny said hitting the road today, trying to change the subject.
FRANK BRUNI, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Precisely.
BOLDUAN: President Obama, he has said -- you've been writing about President Obama is passionate to get in the race and start campaigning. When you've got this happening with the FBI, the FBI and the e-mails now, so at the forefront, does that mute the president's message?
BRUNI: Of course, it does, a little bit this week. Remember, we've got a long way to go. What was important about yesterday, as well, yeah, there was a verbal indictment. No criminal indictment. It is going to be hard beyond this week, it is going to be hard a month to keep the story alive. It is a terrible week for Hillary Clinton in many ways. But with this sort of chapter closing, yes, there will be attack ads. It is important how she speaks about this in the future when she does speak about it, but in a sense, the story is over. I mean, the book has been closed. She is not going to be indicted. I don't see how we keep it alive in September and October.
BERMAN: They're trying. The Republicans are trying. They've got, you know, the FBI trotting up to Capitol Hill, Loretta Lynch going up next. They're trying to pass legislation -- we don't know what it would be -- to keep her from getting classified briefings.
This is going after an area, Angela, that is supposed to be strength. She is painting herself as the grown-up in the room, yet now Republicans are hitting that strike, saying she doesn't deserve to be trusted with classified information.
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Painting is an overstatement, John. She is still the grown-up in the room, especially when the other grown-up is Donald Trump. For the Republicans to put forth legislation to prevent a presidential nominee from receiving much needed classified information, it is treacherous. I think that's a demonstration of partisanship gone too far. If they wanted her to, let's say, pay a fine or whatever, there was some other type of sanction, or go back to a training on how to handle classified --
BERMAN: Remedial course of being secretary of state?
RYE: I don't know. It seems ridiculous to me to now hamper her ability to be in touch what is happening in a classified environment.
I also think it is interesting, speaking of fines, that she is going to Atlantic City today, standing by Trump casino. You brought up the four bankruptcies. But what we didn't talk about is a loan from his father. They said he lent him $3.5 million in gaming chips to help him pay a mortgage. It was illegal and he had to pay a fine.
BOLDUAN: Donald Trump has been kind of fighting already about Atlantic City, saying he made money and got out and did great. This doesn't look good, though.
[11:55:07] KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know what is good, his business record. He has 500 companies. Of those, four have declared bankruptcy. We've heard this speech from Hillary Clinton before, and one of the most bizarre claims in the last speech -- 1.0 she gave today, 2.0 of the same speech -- she suggested that Donald Trump intentionally bankrupted his company, the first of which he lost half of his interest in, he put $1 billion into building the Taj Mahal. That's such a bizarre claim, based on zero evidence. So she is trying her best to tarnish a businessman who employed 250,000 people, had 500 successful businesses. It is going to fall on deaf ears and he needs to find a new talking point.
BOLDUAN: Baseless attacks with little evidence in a presidential campaign.
BERMAN: We call that politics.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.
BERMAN: Kayleigh, Frank, Ana, Angela, thanks so much.
We are waiting for a news conference from the Baton Rouge mayor right now and the police chief. This has to do with the deadly police shooting that we saw on video. We heard from the Louisiana governor a short time ago. We're expecting new information. That's right after the break.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.