Return to Transcripts main page


Steve Bannon Under Scrutiny for Alt-Right Ties; Rep. Ellison. Howard Dean Compete for DNC Chair; Cop Killer Arrest; Doctor Separated Twins "Ahead of Schedule"

Aired November 22, 2016 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:03] MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So what -- I think that ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whiter nationalism means that we prefer to have lots of white folks here and no one of color.

LEWIS: But nationalism ...


ALYSIN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Which country belongs to the whites?

LEWIS: No, no. White nationalism is that. But nationalism ...

CAMEROTA: Yeah, go ahead

LEWIS: Look, I'm not a nationalist, but nationalism is, I would say, within the balance of mainstream political thought. It basically means you put up nationalism ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead, I want to hear it.

LEWIS: Nationalism could be protecting African-American workers from immigrants taking their jobs. Nationalism means putting America first. Not my cup of tea. I don't buy that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's a very ...


CAMEROTA: Anti-immigrant is anti ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In this environment and the way that Donald Trump ran his campaign, that is -- this is a very dangerous nuance that should not be happening and conservatives went after Barack Obama about that -- let me finish my sentence.

LEWIS: Bernie Sanders is a ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Conservatives went after Barack Obama for his associations with Bill Ayers, with, you know ... CAMEROTA: Guys, I'm out of time. We have to leave it there, but the fact that we have to parse this, the fact we're struggling to define it for Steve Bannon and the alt-right, that just tells you they need to do a better job of what they stand for. We'd love to hear your thoughts on all of this.

Let's get over to Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, and you'll have more opportunity to talk about it because these hater groups keep popping up and saying that Trump is somehow giving them new license to give out their message. So we'll have more opportunity to denounce them. Hopefully he gets it right the next time.

So the Democrats, talk about getting it right, they got a long way to go. They just lost a presidency that everyone thought they would win. Why? What can they do to make their party resonate with the main swath of this country that just determined the election? Former Clinton campaign spokesperson Karen Finney next.


[07:35:39] CUOMO: Democrats are squaring off one against the other as they vote next week on House minority leader and early next year on a chair for their party, the Democratic National Committee. The party says it needs to change direction, and that's obviously an objectively true given what groups it lost with on Election Day.

Let's discuss with Former Senior Clinton Campaign Spokesman and Democratic Political Strategist Karen Finney. Karen, good to see your face on my monitor.


CUOMO: All right. So you got a little wound licking to do, but there are serious questions as well.


CUOMO: Bernie Sanders, though a veteran of the Senate, though his ideas were not new, they seemed new because critics of the Democratic Party within the Democratic Party say you move too far to the center and you became about fringe culture issues more than bedrock economic, middle class interests. Do you accept the criticism?

FINNEY: I don't, and here's why. I think when we talk about bedrock economic issues, I think to some -- I think that is part of it. But I think, you know, part of what we were also talking about and need to continue to talk about -- I mean, just think about that last segment you just had in a conversation about the rise of the alt-right, I think it is also critically important that we don't forget our core values in terms of our belief that, you know, to some degree it's about economic freedom.

Yes, we want people to have good jobs and make good wages, be able to send their kids to college, but we also don't want LGBT families to live in fear, and we want people to be able, you know, there are core issues. We want comprehensive immigration reform, and we don't want young people living in fear that their parents are going to be deported. There's an economic component to immigration reform as well.

Obviously over the next few years with someone like a Steve Bannon and the alt-right rising, I think Democrats need to really get it together quickly because clearly we're also going to need to be defending some very serious civil rights issues, which again I would argue to some degree also are part of, you know, a growing middle class in this country that cares about economics but also cares about quality of life and the kind of life they want to lead for themselves and their families.

CUOMO: Right, but I think it's about the balance. You know, the criticism of your party is you're talking about which bathroom to use, you know, more than what jobs people have in the middle class. And that's why your party objectively. I mean, there's zero opinion about this. It used to be Republicans, white-collar, Democrats, blue collar. And now that's flipped.

FINNEY: What we're seeing -- look, I agree that we've seen a shift. And I think as a party, we need to do better job of understanding, you know, what was it that not just that made those voters not want to vote for Hillary or for Democrats but what made them want to vote for Donald Trump. I'm very concerned about some of the hateful rhetoric that we heard from Donald Trump and whether or not that was also a motivating factor, Chris. And I don't think we can ignore that, in addition to the economic conversation. And the second piece ...

CUOMO: But the alt-right didn't get him elected. The alt-right is a small group, it may be growing, but they're a hateful thing he's wrong to not dismiss specifically, that's on him. But that's not why you lost.

FINNEY: I'm not saying that we lost just because of the alt-right. But I'm saying there were something in his message that wasn't just about economics that was motivating for people that I would like for us to understand, OK. At the same time, I think the other big piece of this, though, is we -- our party needs to do two key things, right? I think we need to vote -- have that understanding. But let's not forget, Hillary Clinton is going to end up winning this election in the popular vote by more than 2 million votes. So let's not forget those people either.

Let's not -- I mean those are important voters as well, important Americans as well. So I think our party needs to do two things. Number one, I think on the organizational side, and I'm someone who believes particularly when you don't have the White House, you absolutely have to have a full-time chair. Because the job is to make sure that the apparatus and the infrastructure of the party from the grassroots, from the state party, from the local county chair level, up to the national party, that you have an infrastructure that can elect people up and down the ticket and you are building your bench of talent.

[07:39:57] And that is a full-time job to then also raise the money and also help to then communicate the solutions and ideas of the party working with the, you know, Senator Schumer and our House leadership and frankly our governor ...

CUOMO: Finney.


CUOMO: Like as soon as you talk about Democratic Governors, I have no interest in the conversation. You just said something interesting.

FINNEY: Oh yes, Sorry.

CUOMO: You said full-time job, does that mean you won't support Keith Ellison because he's been wavering about whether or not it'll leave Congress to be the DNC chair?

FINNEY: Well, my understanding was the -- the last thing he said was that it was -- he thought it was a conversation worth having, so you know, again ...

CUOMO: But what does that mean? That only means something to you guys.

FINNEY: I don't know you got to ask him.

CUOMO: That's not a yes. So the rest of you and to regular people if I ask you, will you quit your job to do this job if it matters so much, and you say it's a conversation worth having. We're having the conversation, my friend. You know, you either say yes or no. He's dancing on that. Do you need somebody who's going to be full time?

FINNEY: Well, look the election is going to be -- for chair is going to be next month. I assume he'll take some time and really think about whether or not that's something he's able to do. I'm just telling because remember, I was there for four years with Howard Dean when in the Bush presidency. And it was critical that he was a full-time chair. I'm just saying that out of having been there and experienced, and particularly when you don't have the White House. So I think that's a critical piece.

But look, the second piece is we do need to then also, as I was saying in the beginning. Yes, let's understand what's going on with our ability to communicate with working class, you know, voter in that Rust Belt area. But let's not forget that the future of this country is moving towards a Browner America, is moving towards new technologies, and some of, you know, some of the things that Trump is talking about bringing back.

CUOMO: Right.

FINNEY: I mean we still have an obligation as leaders to see the future and to try to bring everybody along.

CUOMO: No question, but it's about balance. Brown, white, yellow, the whole color that united this country is green. People want to make money for their family.

FINNEY: But I think we can all sit around that table, my friend. We can all sit around that table.

CUOMO: I got you. Hey, that's what this country is about, or at least that's what it was. Karen Finney, thank you very much. The best to you and your family for Thanksgiving.

FINNEY: You too, Chris. You take care.

CUOMO: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: The man hunt is over this morning. San Antonio police say they've got their guy linked to the deadly targeted shooting of a veteran detective. He was just one of four officers shot on Sunday. So what officers are saying about what happened this weekend, that's ahead.


[07:45:39] CAMEROTA: San Antonio police arrested 31-year-old Otis Tyrone McKane. They say that he targeted and killed veteran Detective Benjamin Marconi as the officer sat in his patrol car Sunday morning in front of police headquarters. Marconi was one of four officers shot in ambush-style attacks across the country on Sunday.

Let's discuss this with Deputy Chief of the Dallas Police Department and National Chair and Executive Director for National Black Police Association, Malik Aziz. Deputy Chief Aziz, thank you very much for being here. Do you think that what happened on Sunday, that each one of these four were just sort of tragic, isolated incidents, or did you think that something larger was going on with these police officers being shot?

MALIK AZIZ, DEPUTY CHEIF, DALLAS P.D.: Good morning. First, let me send my condolences and offer my prayers to the family of Benjamin Marconi out of San Antonio and my brothers and sisters are just down South in San Antonio Police Department. They're in our thoughts and prayers, as well as a speedy recovery for the officers in Missouri and Florida.

I think what we're seeing were isolated incidents, but I think the narrative going forward has enabled some people who are irrational to have a belief that it's OK to ambush and kill -- cowardly kill or shoot at police officers. And that's unacceptable.

So I think we have to put a stop to this narrative. I've said in the past, in order for us to build police/community relations, it must be a -- not a us versus them but it must be us together and work towards a more positive, you know, enlightenment for policing community.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

AZIZ: So this is horrific. It looks isolated, but I think the narrative overall is that the thought process is that we've given some kind of credence to a certain group of individuals who are -- who feel disenfranchised or feel very negative towards law enforcement to take action in their own hands, and that' not going to be acceptable because the community will lose, citizens will lose, good people will lose.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and deputy chief, I want to get to that because there was an incredible perp walk, as we call it, where the suspect is arrested and then paraded basically in front of cameras and something incredible happened during this perp walk where the suspect explained why he did it. You know, after these horrible incidents, people always say, why, I want to know the motive, what was the motive, why did he do it.

Listen to this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you upset about, sir?

MCKANE: Society not letting me see my son, so I lashed out at somebody who didn't deserve it

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything to say to his family?

MCKANE: I'm sorry.


CMEROTA: OK, you couldn't probably hear it very well, but I'll read to you what he said. Society is not allowing me to see my son, so I lashed out at somebody who didn't deserve it. I've been through several custody battles and I was upset at the situation I was in.

He was asked if he had anything to say to the victim, to officer's family. And he said, I'm sorry, as he was escorted away. I know, deputy chief that is called "Comfort" that he is sorry now and not sorry beforehand, but does that reinforce your point that people who are angry for whatever reason now see police officers as their targets?

AZIZ: Of course, police officers being the most visible form of us, of our government in action, and it's guys like him who have been looking at the world in a jaded point of view and looking for anyone he can in a uniform, in a blue uniform. There's 800,000 police officers. It's not monolithic, but people see us as one and see us as these protectors of some system that has gone astray. And guys like him, people like him who commit horrific and cowardly acts because it's so easy -- it was easy for him to do that.


AZIZ: The hardest thing would've been to engage and embrace and move forward and work within the confines of a system and not become some horrific type of person to carry out such a horrific and injustice. And he will have to be accountable, no matter what his words are, he will be held accountable.

[07:50:09] CAMEROTA: Of course, and if he thought it was hard to see his son before, it will be particularly hard in prison.

Deputy Chief Malik Aziz, thank you very much for your thoughts. We're sorry for your colleague.

AZIZ: Thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: That's it, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so who can forget these precious faces? Up next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta catches up with the McDonald family. The conjoined twins conjoined no more. How are they doing? What is the next obstacle? Next.


CAMEROTA: So I'm sure I'm sure you remembered those conjoined twins we told you about. We have an update for you. The boys are recovering ahead of schedule after undergoing the grueling 27 hour surgery last month. And Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta checks in with the family.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: When Nicole McDonald got to hold her son Jadon for the first time, it was as if she saw him for the first time.

NICOLE MCDONALD, MOTHER OF JADON AND ANIAS: As a mother you know when you hold your child, you know every bit of their face. Well, his face also encompassed Anias'. So it's my first moment of relearning his face.

[07:55:08] GUPTA: Jadon and Anias are literally one in 2.5 million. They were born craniopagus twins conjoined at the head sharing between 1 1/2 to 2 inches of brain tissue, after over a year of planning last month the boys were separated after a 27 hour long operation at children's hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx. McDonald's have allowed CNN to follow their journey from surgery through rehab exclusively.

Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. Hi, buddy. Hi.

The last time we were in this room they were on a, you know, they were on a ...

N. MCDONALD: They were in one bed.

GUPTA: They were conjoined. Everything -- he's pretty happy with the outcome.

N. MCDONALD: I think so.

GUPTA: Are you sticking your tongue out at me?

N. MCDONALD: Yeah, that's a new trick.

GUPTA: You're sticking you tongue out at me.

For the McDonald's this entire month has been full of first times. First time in separate beds, first time being held, first time seeing each other, but it hasn't been easy to get here. The boys have battled infections, fevers, and seizures. It's been particularly trying for Anias.

N. MCDONALD: Serious infections close to the brain. Skin involvement. They had to take, you know, the bone out of Anias. They had to take skin out, you know, that's just been -- for Anias, it's just -- there's never a break.

GUPTA: Despite all of that, the boys' doctors are so pleased with their progress. Dr. James Goodrich is the boys' neurosurgeon.

You said he was right on or ahead of schedule even. Is there a -- I mean because it's so rare, is there a schedule?

JAMES GOODRICH, NEUROSURGEON, THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL AT MONTEFIORE: Well, it's just when you only deal with trauma cases, people with injuries, recovery times are in months, sometimes years so we're a month. If you consider this is one month out, this to me is incredibly fast.

N. MCDONALD: Yup, Yup.

GUPTA: Do you feel like you have permission or do you allow yourself rather now to think about the future with regard to Jadon and Anias?

N. MCDONALD: I think about their future all the time, all the time. I think about the first time they go to a park and I think about, you know, them getting married some day. I think about -- I think -- I've thought through their whole future 100 times over.

CHRISTIAN MACDONALD, FATHER OF JADON AND ANIAS: It's not that I'm not optimistic. I just -- I'm just more curious what the future holds for them, but I guess I don't want to get my hopes up. You know, I guess I just take it one day at a time.

GUPTA: But each day continues to bring more blessings. The day I visited Nicole and Christian got to see Jadon without his head dressings.

C. MCDONALD: I've never seen you like that buddy.

GUPTA: For the first time.

What's there like, mom to see the first -- the first time without the dressings.

N. MCDONALD: It's amazing. This is the most amazing thing. I just can't even believe it. And look at his little hair on top, it's growing in. Hi, baby.

So when I look at them and I see them laying in their beds whole and generally healthy and I think mentally with it and moving forward, I don't just see that miracle, the separation miracle, but it's been the miracles that took place every step of the way.

I know like my, yes.

C MCDONALD: Anybody could take it off.

How does it feel to be your own little boy?

N. MCDONALD: You have a head of hair.


GUPTA: Well, Alisyn and Chris, I can't get enough of those images. I mean I still get goosebumps a little bit looking at them. I will tell you that what you are seeing here is very rare. As you might imagine, I mean I'm a neurosurgeon. I've never seen anything like this. One in 2.5 Million pregnancies result in babies who are conjoined at the head. Very few make it all the way to delivery and to birth. Even fewer have access to the sort of resources you just saw.

So a lot of things came together, but the doctors said, again, that this was one of the most challenging operations he's ever done. And he's the world leader in this but also one of the most rapid recoveries he's ever seen.

The next step for Jadon and Anias is to go to rehabilitation. They have never sat up, they have never crawled, they have never walked. They're going to learn all of that stuff again. This is like a second birthday for them. But again it's just incredible. Really brings a smile to my face. Back to you guys.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. It melts my heart to see his little head -- I mean his little hand touching his head for the first time without the dressing and feeling around up there.

CUOMO: There are so many layers of connection that wined up getting here, especially if you're a parent, you know, when we heard this is the first time these kids have ever seen each other, the first time ...

CAMEROTA: Isn't that incredible? I mean I just want to stop there for a second. They've always been aware of each other, they were connected, they could hear each other but they've never seen each other.

CUOMO: And another thing for me is Sanjay is such a unique blessing in this business. You know, he is a neurosurgeon. He gives you insight and access in the stories.

[08:00:07] You would never get -- I could never cover that, the way Sanjay just did and we're all better for it, what an amazing story, especially so close to Thanksgiving.

CAMEROTA: I'm sure that when ...