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Session Talks Sanctuary Cities; White House Border Wall; Nunes Recuse from Russian Probe; Tired of Winning Yet; Interview with Rep. Adriano Espaillat. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 28, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The nation's first formerly undocumented immigrant serving in Congress joins us next.



JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws.


CAMEROTA: All right, that was Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterating the White House threat to sanctuary cities to comply with immigration laws or lose federal funding grants.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Adriano Espaillat of New York. He is a former undocumented immigrant from the Dominican Republic and the first former undocumented immigrant elected to Congress.

Good morning, congressman.

REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (D), NEW YORK: Thank you, Alisyn. Good morning. Thank you for inviting me once again.

CAMEROTA: Nice to have you.

So what do you think about Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterating the policy that federal funding grants will be denied to cities that -- so called sanctuary cities, such as New York, there are many others obviously around the country, because what the White House says is that these cities are not helping to enforce immigration laws.

ESPAILLAT: Well, this is a serious threat to the security of Americans throughout the country and particularly New York City, which is the largest, safest city in America. And we have been safe since 9/11 because our men and women in law enforcement have been given the tools to fight crime, to fight terrorism.

Now, the Department of Justice is entrusted with the mission to defend us against enemies, both foreign and domestic. And by yanking funding away and clawing back funding away from law enforcement, we're putting average Americans at risk. In fact, it's almost like putting a gun in the head of Americans and playing Russian roulette. This is egregious and this is something that shouldn't happen. Our men and women of law enforcement should get all the help possible to defend us from any potential terrorist attack.

[08:35:27] CAMEROTA: But, look, you know what the White House says. They say that these sanctuary cities are protecting people who broke the law and that you shouldn't be asking your local law enforcement to, if they see somebody who is undocumented and here illegally, they say, why wouldn't local law enforcement work with ICE agents to try to get rid of that person?

ESPAILLAT: What a sanctuary city does is in fact allow a mom to take his -- her kid to -- to school without fearing that the principal is going to call ICE, or a grandmother to go into the emergency room without fearing that the nurse is going to call ICE, or even a domestic violence victim to be able to go to a local present and report that crime without thinking that the local commander is going to call ICE and deport them.

This is actually a fighting -- a crime fighting tool that I think we must ensure that all people can come forward and report a crime, as opposed to being fearful and living in the shadows and really not cooperating with law enforcement at all. So this is quite the contrary. And if this particular measure is implemented, New York City will lose $52 million that are very, very important for the men and women that fight terrorism.


ESPAILLAT: The 62 percent of the intelligence and counter terrorist efforts will be compromised. And this is really malpractice, if you may, by the Department of Justice.

CAMEROTA: I want to also ask you about something else coming out of the White House, and that is a request for basically a billion dollars, $999 million, to begin the construction of that long promised, campaign promise from President Trump, of the border wall. What's interesting is that that $1 billion request covers only 62 miles of the proposed wall. What do you think of these numbers?

ESPAILLAT: These are numbers -- this is monies that could go towards education, towards health care. America needs help. The economy is still slumping a little bit. We need to make sure that people have jobs, that our programs are well funded and to build a wall is not going to resolve the immigration crisis. We must work very hard to have bipartisan efforts to reach immigration reform and building a wall is not going to do it. In fact, you know, I remember when Ronald Reagan told Gorbachev, tear down that wall. Why do we need to build a wall now? We should build bridges. And I think it's the wrong approach. Again, this administration has gone the wrong way and we should be helping Americans and not hurting them.

CAMEROTA: Well, look, let's face it, I mean President Trump won. This is one of the first things that he promised. This resonated with a lot of his supporters and voters. Do you think that your Republican colleagues are inclined to grant -- I mean, again, that's only 62 miles. If you multiply that times 25 or however many miles you need to get to the 2,000 that he promised, then you're up to $25 billion. Do you think that Congress would ever approve that?

ESPAILLAT: I don't know if we have the funding to do that kind of effort. What I do know is that President Trump is at one of his lowest levels of approval. Even though, you know, this resonated with his base. But right now he's tanking, and he's got to do something for the American people. And I think building a wall doesn't help our society, doesn't help our country move forward. In fact, it divides us with the rest of the continent, the rest of the hemisphere. I would rather see him invest in education. I would rather see him invest in health care, et cetera.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Espaillat, thank you very much for your perspective. Nice to have you on NEW DAY.

ESPAILLAT: Thank you, Alisyn. Thank you so much.


ESPAILLAT: Thank you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so a big question, the House intel chair, should he recuse himself from chairing the House Intelligence Committee with anything to do with Trump and Russia because of this firestorm over this briefing of the president before even talking to his own colleagues? That's part of "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:43:31] CUOMO: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes refusing to step aside from the Russia investigation, though admitting he secretly met with a source on White House grounds before briefing the president.

CAMEROTA: President Trump's son-in-law, and senior advisor, Jared Kushner under fire for an undisclosed meeting with a Russian banker with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Kushner says he will talk with the Senate Intel Committee about Russia soon.

CUOMO: The president is set to sign an executive order today rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations. The White House says protecting American jobs is more important than addressing climate change.

CAMEROTA: The state of Michigan agreeing to pay $97 million to settle a lawsuit in the Flint water crisis. The money will be used to replace lead contaminated water lines in at least 18,000 homes.

CUOMO: People are still using bottled water in Flint.

NFL owners approving the Raider's move from Oakland to Vegas, baby. A 31-1 vote. The team will remain in Oakland for the next two years. That's how long it will take for there to be a new stadium in Vegas.

CAMEROTA: All right, for more on the "Five Things to Know," you can go to for the latest.

All right, so that executive order on climate change we just told you about, could it be the win the White House wants right now. Let's get to it in "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:48:26] CUOMO: Growing calls certainly from Democrats but also some Republicans for House Intel Chair Devin Nunes to recuse himself from his committee's Russia's probe. Will he? Let's get to "The Bottom Line" with CNN's political director David Chalian.

When we say some Republicans, Republicans of note, John McCain. Do we have his sound? Let's play it.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, I think there needs to be a lot of explaining to do. I've been around for quite a while and I've never heard of any such thing. And, obviously, in a committee like an Intelligence Committee, you've got to have bipartisanship, otherwise the committee loses creditability.


CUOMO: Everybody, he says, they've never heard of anything like this before. Most people say that this compromised the integrity of the commission. But for all that, do you think there's any chance that the Republicans move to have Nunes replaced or to ask him to recuse?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think there might be some chance. We have to watch and see if these calls grow louder. I mean by John McCain's definition right there, Chris, this investigation has lost its credibility because it is not bipartisan at all right now. that has completely broken down. Another Republican, Lindsey Graham, this morning said that Nunes' objectivity has been called into question because of his behavior.

Now, they're, you know, over in the Senate and they won't dictate what happens in the House, but right now largely the headlines have been Democrats calling for recusal or stepping down or replacement. When that comes to a growing bipartisan call, then Paul Ryan has a much bigger problem on his hands.

[08:49:59] CAMEROTA: You know, David, originally, when we were asking Democrats, why aren't you calling for Nunes to recuse himself, they were basically saying, well, he's operated fairly well as chairman and basically their argument was the devil you know is worse -- is better than the devil you don't know. If he were to recuse, then what happens? Who would be -- who starts leading this investigation?

CHALIAN: Well, it's unclear because I believe the number two Republican on the House Intel Committee chairs another committee so we would have to see how Paul Ryan sort of reorganizes to be able to step up and who would actually lead it on House Intel. But maybe the number three, I think Pete King in the committee, we would have to see how that plays out.

The point being, though, is that Devin Nunes, since the day he held that press conference, then ran down to the White House to basically deliver information that he had received from the White House the night before, we know now, in those theatrics, completely undermined his own mission. And I think the reason you were -- Democrats were a little reluctant to do that is because there had been a track record prior to this of actually working together and I just think that's been completely thrown out the window.

CUOMO: Do you think Nunes did this to himself, or do you think this is the White House staining one of their own trying to get him to help them fuel their narrative?

CHALIAN: I don't know that that's a distinction with much of a difference. I mean I think that he clearly is a Trump White House ally, served on the transition team, and I think he saw an opportunity here to deliver a talking point to the White House that allowed President Trump in the cabinet room that day to say he feels somewhat vindicated from those absurd, completely (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: Right, but Nunes had to know that that was a dumb move for him to make, that it would not wind up, you know, upcoming off well. So the question is, do you think he was pressured by the White House to help out and wound up making that choice?

CHALIAN: I think there is little doubt that the White House has been eager to get its allies to try and find some avenue of support from Trump's claims and those ridiculous, unsubstantiated tweets on that Saturday morning. Even Devin Nunes has -- he really doesn't have anything to substantiate what the president was tweeting on that Saturday morning. But I do think the White House was in an all-out search, obviously, for allies to step up and say, well, there could be something here. So, sure, that might be some pressure. But I think Devin Nunes also was eager to play loyal soldier.

CAMEROTA: All right, David Chalian, thank you for "The bottom Line." Great to see you.

CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.

CAMEROTA: "The Good Stuff," next.


[08:56:10] CUOMO: All right, time for "The Good Stuff." Strangers helping a woman accomplish her dreams. It really started with one stranger, Don Carter. He struck up a conversation with an employee at Popeyes -- that's a good place, by the way -- in Kansas City. The young woman told him she wants to do more with her life.


DON CARTER, CREATED GOFUNDME PAGE: I said, oh, go back to school for what? To be a nurse. I just saw that spark and that potential in her.


CUOMO: So he got to thinking, how can I help her? He spread the word among his FaceBook friends. One of them said, hey, did you start a GoFundMe page? He said, I don't even know what that is. He stayed up all night, figured it out. He wound up raising close to $1,800 in 24 hours.



CARTER: Taking the risk of doing something good for somebody else, regardless of how they receive it, for me that's -- that's somewhat life -- what -- where life has its joy.


CUOMO: He was trying to raise money for her to be a nurse's assistant. One of his friends said, well, why don't you just have her be a nurse practitioner. That's about $7,000. At last check, more than $6,000 has been donated, all on a conversation that started up at a drive-thru. And one person deciding, what can I do for this member of my community.

CAMEROTA: That's so generous and such a great lesson.

All right, let's lighten it up a little bit. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump, of course, promised that when he took office, we'd all be sick of all of the winning. So how sick are you feeling? Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.

CUOMO: And why?


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When critics made fun of President Trump losing, their favorite ammunition is his boasting about winning.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to win so much, you may even get tired of winning.

You may get bored with winning.

You are going to get so sick and tired of winning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so, America, are you tired of winning yet? So much winning, winning.

MOOS: Even this Republican strategist couldn't resist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aside from being sick and tired of all this failing.

MOOS: Tweeted one critic, "so when exactly does the winning start?" Followed by a list of Trump setbacks.

The parody account for Donald J. Rump tweeted, "I'm really getting stick of winning. It is overrated."

All comedian Bill Mahar had to do was play the video --

TRUMP: It's too much winning. We can't take it anymore.

MOOS: And shake his head.

MOOS (on camera): You know, there is one other guy who made winning his catch phrase that ended up catching up with him.

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: Wow, winning. Winning. Starting to get the concept now? Oops, winning. Duh, winning.

MOOS (voice-over): But, duh, you know what also isn't winning? Giving the White House briefing with something stuck in your teeth.

"Sean Spicer's teeth are sanctuary city for spinach," snarked one viewer. Tweeted another, "it's appropriate that @presssec has lettuce in his teeth since he speaks in word salads." And no one even bothered to pass a note or speak up as they did --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your pin's upside down.

MOOS: When Spicer wore his flag pin upside down. Also not winning, the little portable desk.

TRUMP: This is the smallest desk I've ever seen.

MOOS: The president had to use to sign bills in the Roosevelt Room. Not quite as small as the one presidential impersonator Alec Baldwin was relegated to on "SNL."

To this president, size matters and winning is how he sizes himself up.

TRUMP: Please, Mr. President, we don't want to win anymore.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

TRUMP: You're driving us crazy.

MOOS: New York.


CUOMO: A little #fakewinning you're going to start seeing going around soon.

CAMEROTA: You remember when he told you his secret was whining.


CAMEROTA: Maybe we confused this. CUOMO: Nobody whines as much as I do.


CUOMO: I whine until I win.

CAMEROTA: Win. I know.

CUOMO: That's what he had said. He's got some more winning to do. I don't think they should bust on Spicer for what he has on his teeth or his flag pin.

CAMEROTA: Oh, we've all been there. We have all been there. I did a news read once with an entire leaf of spinach blotting out one of my front teeth.

[09:00:00] CUOMO: And -- but not on this show.


CUOMO: I would have told you.

CAMEROTA: Of course you would have.

CUOMO: I would have pulled it right off.

CAMEROTA: You would have plucked it right out.

CUOMO: And then you would have hit me.

CAMEROTA: I know that.

CUOMO: But later you would have thanked me.

CAMEROTA: All right.

CUOMO: Time now for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman.

He once had half a banana on the side of his face when he --