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President's Roller Coaster Week; Argument over Travel Ban; Undocumented Immigrant Supports Trump Policies; CNN's "Finding Jesus." Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 3, 2017 - 08:30   ET

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


[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: About Benghazi.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

CUOMO: You know, where they - where they felt that, let's just let the process takes its course. How much of fuel for the fire is that right now?

BROWNSTEIN: I think it is because I think the best arguments Democrats will have in 2018, particularly in the parts of America that are the most uneasy about President Trump, white collar suburbanites where in those districts outside of big cities where his approval rating is as low today as President Obama's was in the blue collar districts in 2010 before the Democrats were annihilated there, their best argument is that you need a check. You need a legitimate oversight and a policy check as well on a president that still stirs very polarizing emotions.

And to the extent that Republicans seem to be seen as simply rolling over or, even worse, trying to covering up. And, obviously, the questions about the - the actions of both intelligence committee chairman, when contacted by the White House to knock down some of the earlier stories fueled (ph) that (ph), this is, I think, going to be, broadly speaking, not specifically about Russia, but broadly, is Congress doing enough to act as a check and balance on a president that many Americans are ambivalent at best about. I think that is the best argument Democrats have in 2018.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Ron, let's look ahead. What is happening with the travel ban? A month ago we had heard that it was of vital national security importance. It had to happen urgently. Then we had heard the revised version -

CUOMO: From the White House we heard.

CAMEROTA: From the White House.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Then we had heard that it - it would be announced, the revised plan, last week. Then we heard this week. Then we heard it couldn't be because they didn't want it to eclipse the president's good reviews.

BROWNSTEIN: Right.

CAMEROTA: So where - where are we with this?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, there are kind of mixed signals, right? There is the political argument that you made that they didn't want it to be kind of caught up in what they thought was the positive aftermath, the wake of the speech on Tuesday. But there's also the reality they have to try to craft something that they think is going to be more legally defensible. And, you know, they still have the same basic geography problem of the challenges we'll go through, presumably that district court in Seattle again and then through the Ninth Circuit and potentially to a divided Supreme Court. So they're trying to scale it back in way, for example, exempting current visa holders, that they think will be more legally defensible.

But in the interim, they've also suffered a significant blow in that the intelligence - career intelligence professionals at the Department of Homeland Security concluded there was no basis for a geographically targeted ban. And then the administration, of course, rejected that analysis. You can bet when - if this - if and when this is released and it goes back into court, you're going to hear something about that analysis.

CUOMO: Well, there were two, right? You had a couple of weeks ago there was a report out that the white House had received a reckoning by security officials that those countries represent no imminent threat to the United States.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Right.

CUOMO: And then that Homeland Security came out and said that they don't believe that the threat is people who come from abroad radicalized, but that they get here and become radicalized. Those are two basic premises that this ban was based on and they got blown up by their own people.

BROWNSTEIN: And, look, you don't want to lose twice, right? I mean you do not want to put this out again, go back into court and have it defeated again. And I think it's certain that it will face another legal challenge, whatever they produce. And, again, they've got this problem of - in the reverse of what President Obama faced on issues like immigration where state Republican attorneys general went through conservative district courts in Texas, through the conservative Fifth Circuit and then ultimately to a tied Supreme Court. Until he has a Supreme Court majority - it's not clear that even with five Republican appointed justices he would have a Supreme Court majority on this. Their legal position is tenuous.

CAMEROTA: All right, Ron Brownstein, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line."

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Have a great weekend.

BROWNSTEIN: Have a good weekend. You, too. CAMEROTA: We'll see you next week.

CUOMO: All right, so support for President Trump and his promise to crack down on border security is coming from a somewhat unlikely source. We're going to introduce you to some of his least likely cheerleaders.

CAMEROTA: But first, do you want to see someone who goes above and beyond become a CNN Hero?

CUOMO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Here's how.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready to ride?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bring it in, girl.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "AC 360": Every year CNN Heroes honor everyday people doing extraordinary work to change lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So proud of you, man.

COOPER: We've crossed the globe to tell the stories of these amazing heroes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. Go all the way to the end.

COOPER: But we can't do it without you. We need you to tell us who you think should be a CNN Hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look how far we've come in a week. It's fantastic.

COOPER: You can nominate someone in just a few simple steps. Go to cnnheroes.com and fill in the forms, tell us about your hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That came (ph) really nicely.

COOPER: It's that easy. You can help make your hero a CNN Hero and shine some light on their amazing work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:38:56] CUOMO: President Trump's policies are gaining support from a surprising place. Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, an undocumented immigrant, is backing the president as he navigates the twists and turns of becoming a citizen. The story? CNN's Rosa Flores has it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUAN CARLOS HERNANDEZ-PACHECO, DETAINED FOR 20 DAYS: He's working for the American people. He's not working for me, obviously, because I'm not an American.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surprising words about Donald Trump from Juan Carlos Hernandez-Pacheco, an undocumented immigrant who just spent 20 days in an immigration detention center.

FLORES (on camera): Do you feel that his policy, though, targeted individuals like yourself?

HERNANDEZ-PACHECO: That wasn't his policy. I don't consider it like his policy. I consider it more like the law.

FLORES (voice-over): The 38-year-old says he agrees with some of Trump's policies, like border security, terrorism and even hard line immigration. And he's not alone, saying some of his cell mates, also undocumented, think favorably of President Trump. Why?

[08:40:04] HERNANDEZ-PACHECO: Donald Trump was the first president know (ph) might (ph) promised and deliver it.

FLORES: Hernandez-Pacheco, a husband and father of three U.S. citizens, has been in the U.S. for nearly 20 years. He was picked up by ICE even though he was not the intended target, just days before his son's eighth birthday.

HERNANDEZ-PACHECO: Just can't imagine spending my little one's birthday far away from him.

FLORES: In his adopted hometown of West Frankfurt, Illinois, he's just known as Carlos, the former manager of a popular Mexican restaurant in town. More than 70 percent of the votes in this country went for Donald Trump, including those cast by Carlos' best friends.

FLORES (on camera): Are you guys Donald Trump supporters?

TIM GRIGSBY, CARLOS' FRIEND: Yes, we - we - we both voted for - for Trump.

FLORES (voice-over): But when immigration agents detained their friend, pointing to two of his DUIs from nearly a decade ago, his friends stood by Carlos.

GRIGSBY: No politician has a platform that you're going to agree with 100 percent. The immigration stance that he has, no, we - we didn't - we didn't agree with that.

FLORES: Dozens of people in this small town of about 8,000, including the mayor, the police and fire chiefs, wrote letters of support for Carlos asking the judge to have clemency.

HERNANDEZ-PACHECO: If you knew my friends, that is something you should respect. FLORES: It's tough to find someone in this town who doesn't support

Carlos, but one did tell CNN, "the man had plenty of time, I think, to get his citizenship, you know?"

A point Carlos agrees with.

HERNANDEZ-PACHECO: Yes, I wanted to be legal for ten years. I've been trying and trying, but the system is broke.

FLORES: Now that he is no longer in custody, he's vowing to remain with his family, making this promise to his son.

HERNANDEZ-PACHECO: I told him that I was here to stay. I won't go nowhere.

FLORES: Rosa Flores, CNN, West Frankford, Illinois.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: Once again we learn the lesson that you can never assume that someone is part of just a monolithic block based on, you know, their name or how they look or their background. Everybody feels individually.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean a little bit of it is also perspective. What he's saying is, I'm not a citizen. I don't expect this man who leads the citizens to be my leader. But there are all these shades of gray. You know, someone who's been in this country for 10, 15 years, has raised a family here, working, paying taxes, they're not the same as this, you know, believed-to-be bad person who just comes across to commit crimes here. That's a whole -

CAMEROTA: Sure, but you - do you still assume that that person wouldn't support Donald Trump and his policies? But he does.

CUOMO: He does. He also wants to be a citizen. It's very complex. That's why the president gave hope when he said he wants a compromise on this. We don't know where that stands.

CAMEROTA: All right, wait till you see this. CNN is retracing the roots of Christianity and they're learning more about - we're learning more about the life and death of Jesus with our very own David Gregory as our tour guide, next.

CUOMO: How is your faith?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:46:46] CAMEROTA: Christians around the world observing the holy season of Lent in the weeks leading up to Easter. Perfect timing for the CNN original series "Finding Jesus." It returns for its second season on Sunday.

And joining us to talk about this and his trip to the holy land is David Gregory, CNN political analyst and author of "How's Your Faith?"

It's so fun to have you here talking about a different subject than politics.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It is. It is. A subject I'm very interested in and passionate about. And this was a wonderful experience for me to be able to be part of it.

And so the series premiere of "Finding Jesus" focuses on a central figure in the death of Jesus. The Roman governor at the time, Pontius Pilot. So who was he and is there evidence about his life that helps confirm the Gospel account. We went to the holy land to explore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREGORY (voice-over): On the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, there is an ancient secret as old as the birth of Christianity. Here in Caesarea, the majestic Roman port, a fatal determination changed history. The Roman governor based here, Pontius Pilot, was called on to decide the fate of Jesus of Nazareth. He would be a harsh judge.

SHIMON GIBSON, ARCHAEOLOGIST: He was brutal. We hear about massacres and the bloodshed that was connected to the time that he had the rule of Judea. He was not a nice person.

GREGORY: We have come to the amphitheater in Caesarea with Dr. Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist who has spent more than 20 years conducting excavations in the holy land. Here in 1961, archaeologists discovered proof of Pilot's existence.

GIBSON: You wouldn't really sort of think that at this spot, under this wooden stand, this inscription was found, a Latin inscription mentioning Pontius Pilot. But this was one of those pivotal moments which changes everything because suddenly Pontius Pilot comes out of this written inscription. It's not just this figure in the Gospels.

GREGORY (on camera): The Israel Museum here in Jerusalem is a treasure house of artifacts from the first century. To visit here as a religious pilgrim or an historian is to discover crucial evidence of the end of Jesus' life.

GREGORY (voice-over): The left side of the pilot stone was chiseled away to fit into the theater, but the inscription is clear, Tiberievm (ph) Pontius Pilot, perfectus (ph) Judea, a stone thought to commemorate a lighthouse dedicated to the emperor Tiberious (ph).

JONATHAN PRICE, PROFESSOR OF CLASSICS, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: It was a wow moment because, first of all, this is the only physical object from the time of Pilot which has his name.

GREGORY: The Gospel of Luke tells the story. Pilot was called to Jerusalem amid the uproar over the ministry of Jesus, considered a rebel leading a messianic movement. "Are you the king of the Jews," Pilate asks in the scripture? And he answered them, "you have said so."

PRICE: He probably thought of Jesus as a minor rebel, the kind of which he saw many in his governorship. [08:50:00] GREGORY: The ornate osuairy (ph) next to the Pilot stone is

thought to belong to Josephus Kifus (ph), the Jewish high priest, and a pivotal figure in the trial of Jesus. Dr. Gibson's excavations next to the Tower of David Museum have uncovered further evidence of Pilot's time in Jerusalem. Based on the Gospels and writings from the period, the archaeologist imagine's Pilot's judgment.

GIBSON: He decides to make an example of Jesus and to have him crucified. I don't think he would have had a sleepless night about - over it.

GREGORY: There are no records of Pilot's last days or his burial place. History records that he was called back to Rome to account for the brutality of his rule. Pilot may have ended the life of Jesus, but for the faithful, this crucial episode marks just the beginning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, fascinating. Fascinating.

CUOMO: Well told.

CAMEROTA: And, I mean, you - that moment where you imagine them getting goose bumps where they see for the first time engraved in stone -

GREGORY: Right.

CAMEROTA: The evidence - the real evidence of Pontius Pilot. So why is Pilot controversial in the Gospels?

GREGORY: Well, because, you know, you have competing agendas about the way he's written. There is the view that in the Gospels, when the Gospels were written, that they were essentially trying to rehabilitate a brutal Roman governor, and they were also potentially trying to shift the blame from the Romans to Jews, the Jewish high priest, for the crucifixion of Christ. You have literary circles at the time, the Greek historian Filo (ph), and the Roman Josephus (ph), who write and say, no, it was actually the Roman rulers who, of course, did this and were so awful at the time.

So, look, this was - you know, Jesus was a rebel exploiting the schism in the Jewish circles at the time. And there were others that were like him. But - so that's why - and I think the film does a good job of this, is really going through the two versions of how he's portrayed where there is - there is competing agendas, competing history and some uncertainty about it all.

CUOMO: To a lot of Christians hearing what that historian Gibson said will be a new reckoning, because they have been taught and it has been reinforced that what happened was Pontius Pilot said to the Jews, do you really want me to kill this guy -

GREGORY: Right.

CUOMO: And that he had washed his hands and left it up to them, which is something that is at odds with the reckoning you just heard of what kind of a person Pontius Pilot was -

GREGORY: Right.

CUOMO: And that he was very activist in his violence and his decision making.

GREGORY: But, you know, one of the things that's so interesting - I mean, you know, these are theological debates that I'm certainly not going to resolve, but the historical piece is so interesting. Going to Caesarea, in Israel, where the Romans have this unbelievable port, you get the sense of - so he's the ruler in Judea, which includes Jerusalem, but he wants to hang out at the port and lead his Hedonistic life. And then he gets called to Jerusalem and there's evidence of him being there.

So the fact that they found this stone, the fact that they have what they think are the remains of the high priest, the juxtaposition is to realize that you have evidence of the Gospels. You have evidence of that final week in Jesus' live. Still so many questions about, you know, did the Jews even have the authority to recommend condemnation, you know, crucifixion for anyone? These things remain unresolved. But there's still this evidence. And that means so much for the faithful to be able to walk in that - in those shoes.

CAMEROTA: So going there for you -

GREGORY: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Did it answer questions or did it just heighten more mysteries?

GREGORY: Well, it does both. I mean, for me, as a Jew, who has more limited experience, and I'm still very much a student of Christianity, I loved it because I love a sense of place. I love to walk the Gospels. I went to other places that are not part of the film just to kind of inform my own understanding. And I am among those who believe that a sense of place enlivens the idea, it deepens the faith experience of trying to imagine the sacred texts for the Christian and the Jewish traditions, and also think about what we have to learn in a - in a contemporary sense from these ancient figures.

CAMEROTA: I want to know (ph).

CUOMO: I think it's great. I think it's helpful to people of faith. I think it's just as helpful to people who are -

GREGORY: Right.

CUOMO: You know, whether they're agnostic or whether they choose to believe something else entirely, to look at the history of it is only helpful.

GREGORY: And the history of it is I think what the film does so well. It's not just for the faith, but it's the history piece as well.

CAMEROTA: All right, catch the season premiere of "Finding Jesus" this Sunday night, 9:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

Thank you. Watch.

CUOMO: How about some giggles to end the week? What do you say?

CAMEROTA: Let's do this. Stick around for late night laughs.

GREGORY: Let's go. Yes.

CAMEROTA: All right, let's do it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:58:14] CUOMO: Former President George W. Bush back in the spotlight. How about some late night laugh action?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY KIMMEL, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": I have so many questions for you. And the first - I think question number one, where I really want to start is, when your vice president, Dick Cheney, when he shot that guy in the face, did he - how did he tell you? Did he call you? Did he come in and close the door?

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You know -

KIMMEL: How did that go down?

BUSH: What really irritated me about that is, he shot the only trial lawyer for me in Texas.

KIMMEL: Did it ever seem funny at all to you?

BUSH: Well, every time Cheney would come in, a lot of people would yell "duck."

KIMMEL: Do you pay attention to pop culture?

BUSH: No.

KIMMEL: No. Not at all? So do you - you don't know that Beyonce is pregnant?

BUSH: No.

KIMMEL: Do you know who Beyonce's husband is?

BUSH: No.

KIMMEL: Do you know who Beyonce is?

BUSH: Yes.

KIMMEL: OK, you do know Beyonce.

BUSH: She's from Texas. KIMMEL: She's from Houston. Yes. Right. OK.

Do you know, for instance - do you know who won the Academy Award for best picture? Because we don't -

BUSH: Pass the envelope, please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: This is great for you, David Gregory.

GREGORY: I love it.

CAMEROTA: It gives you more material in case your impression had gotten a little stale.

GREGORY: One of the first times that he was on a late night show was Jay Leno back in 2000 and there was some - it was during the campaign and they were - there was some positive polling for him. And he pulled me aside in the green room and he said, Gregory, he said, just you watch, we're going to win California. And I looked at him and I said, no, you're not. And of course he didn't, but, I mean, he's great on these shows. He was then and he still is now.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

GREGORY: It's great to see him.

CAMEROTA: But he's quippy and funny and he still is.

CUOMO: And then (ph) - and then (ph) pan (ph) too.

GREGORY: Only in the age of Trump could George W. Bush be like totally celebrated by everybody, right, left and center.

[09:00:00] CAMEROTA: Completely.

David Gregory, have a great weekend.

GREGORY: Thanks. You, too.

CAMEROTA: Thanks for being here.

GREGORY: God bless.

CAMEROTA: All right, time for CNN "Newsroom" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman.

Hi, guys.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, guys.

HARLOW: Berman doesn't know who Beyonce's husband is either.

BERMAN: No, you know, I didn't know who her sister was. There was the whole moment