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Justice Dept.: No Charges Against Baton Rouge Officers; Trump's Border Wall Pledge & Reality; Stephen Colbert: No Regrets for Angry Trump Rant. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 4, 2017 - 06:30   ET


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: -- find out very soon how difficult it really is.

[06:30:03] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: But, A.B., but part of this is, as we know, he is often influenced and persuaded by whomever he met with last, and he had this meeting with Mahmoud Abbas yesterday. And so, he was impressed, and he thought you want this? Israel wants this? Come on, everybody. Let's get together.

I mean, there's a refreshing naivety to this, which is, it should be simple, let's give it a shot.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR & COLUMNIST, REALCLEARPOLITICS: He said in the past that there's no reason there's not peace between these parties. No reason whatsoever.

That is naivety, Alison, because every time you meet with a stakeholder individually, they always make a good case to you and it's convincing. It's when you get them in with the rival stakeholder and you try to make a deal that things get tough. Everyone can make their own good sell.

Donald Trump unlike with North Korea will give him credit all along, and I think, you know, from 20 years ago, this man is believed if he could speak to the Chinese, he would convince them to solve the North Korea problem, and now, he is saying he will solve it without them. He always believed he could charm the Chinese into taking care of this.

This is not what's happening on Mideast peace. He has no answer for why he is going to solve it. Just that he is going to solve it.

CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you very much for all of the analysis.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Another headline for you: there will be no federal charges against two Baton Rouge cops in the shooting death of Alton Sterling. But those officers are not out of the woods yet. You still have this state case. What does that look like? Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [06:35:30] CAMEROTA: Louisiana state police will now investigate the two Baton Rouge police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling after the U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday that it will not file criminal charges.

CNN's Nick Valencia is live in Baton Rouge with more for us.

What's the latest, Nick?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. This was an announcement that was anticipated by practically everyone here in Baton Rouge, which is perhaps why we saw no arrest last night or any major demonstrations.

The Department of Justice announcing that after an exhaustive ten- month investigation, their findings did not reach the threshold for civil rights charges for these two officers involved in a shooting.

At a press conference yesterday, the family was saying that they're not defeated. They struck somewhat of an optimistic tone. Their hopes now rest in the hands of the state attorney general's office, which will conduct an investigation at the state level.

I was speaking to the family attorney for the Sterlings who told me that in DOJ's discovery, they told him that one of the officers involved, Officer Blane Salamoni, threatened to kill Alton Sterling before shooting him dead. They're hoping that this new information will help them seek justice at the state level -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Appreciate it, Nick. Thank you very much for that this morning.

So, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney insists the president's border wall is being built. In this climate, you got to reality check everything. So, he goes out there at this conference and starts pointing at walls and saying, "The Democrats didn't tell you we were going to build this, did they?" Then, Sean Spicer doubled down on that.

So, CNN headed down to the Mexican border to find out the real story, next.


[06:40:57] CUOMO: All right. So, let's have a little fact fest here. You had the White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted that the president deliver on his promise to build a border wall right now. They even had pictures to prove it.

So, how about their proof? Is it real? Is it legit?

CNN's Gary Tuchman went to the U.S.-Mexico border to find out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After Budget Director Mick Mulvaney pointed to the photographs of border wall construction, he was asked where it was.

MICK MULVANEY, BUDGET DIRECTOR: Oh, I don't know where it's being built.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But we do. We quickly matched up photographs and discovered the location is Sunland Park, New Mexico, which borders a small town near Juarez, Mexico. So we came here and indeed workers are building a new improved and more secured steel wall.

(on camera): Construction workers here tell us this is the exact portion of the fence where the picture was taken. The opening in the fence in the photo is now closed with that gate. Interestingly, the picture was taken from the other side of the fence on the Mexican side. The mountains that you see in the background are the mountains here in New Mexico.

(voice-over) The budget director declared, quote, "This stuff is going up now because the president wants to make this country safe."

But keeping them honest, this stuff has nothing to do with President Trump.

Daphne Griffin works at a restaurant near the border.

DAPHNE GRIFFIN, WORKS IN SUNLAND PARK: This particular wall came from the Bush administration.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Is that common knowledge in this area?

GRIFFIN: Yes, absolutely.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 in October of that year. Since then, he and President Barack Obama approved new construction and improvement construction to border walls and fences from Texas to California.

So, it's those two presidents responsible for improvements done to this wall in Sunland Park. This project began in the summer of 2016, months before Donald Trump was elected.

(on camera): So, it's nothing unusual?

GRIFFIN: No. It's not unusual to see the wall being fixed.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): In addition to the frequent trains chugging along the border, one of the first things we noticed here was this chain-link fence separating the countries which a child on the Mexican side was climbing. A fence the budget director actually pointed out.

MULVANEY: This doesn't stop drugs and doesn't stop criminals from crossing the border. In fact, it doesn't stop hardly anything from crossing the border.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Press Secretary Sean Spicer also noted it.

SPICER: And if you look at that one in particular, you have got a chain-link fence is what is currently at our southern border. That is literally down there now. We are able to go in there and instead of having a chain-link fence replace it with that barreled wall.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Well, keeping them honest again, the chain-link fence has never been a border fence. Workers and law enforcement on the scene who say they can't go on camera, tell us it's just part of the construction site, put up by the construction workers for safety.

(on camera): To be clear, border wall and border fencing is often getting repaired and replaced. But if President Trump wants to build a new wall in a place that hasn't had one, he doesn't have the authorization or money to do that. At least yet.

(voice-over): What Mr. Trump does have is the right to improve and repair current walls and fences. The same exact thing presidents before him have had.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Sunland Park, New Mexico.


CAMEROTA: I'm so glad Gary Tuchman went there and explained it because that's the best explanation we've had thus far.

CUOMO: And it's sad that it needs explanation. I mean, one, you should have border security. But this is just B.S., and now, you got Spicer took a hit to his credibility, and Mulvaney, what's he doing talking about border security in the first place?

CAMEROTA: When you see the pictures, you go, okay, that is a problem. Then it's very helpful to have an update from a real reporter on the ground to say actually here's what it looks like today. We wouldn't know that if Gary hadn't gone.

CUOMO: Hence, the reason to uncover the deception because that's what it was.

CAMEROTA: Up next, zero tolerance for a Red Sox fan who used a racial slur at Fenway Park. How the team responded in the next "Bleacher Report".


[06:48:27] CUOMO: All right. So, on the same night that fans at Fenway gave Adam Jones a standing ovation, a fan was ejected and banned from the park for life for a racial slur.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report".

You know, another layer on a lot of the smack that you hear talked about fans at Fenway.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Just another unfortunate situation, Chris. On Tuesday night, the National Anthem at Fenway was sung by a young Kenyan woman, and after she sang, a fan in the stands used a racial slur.

That's when Calvin Hennick, who was at the game with his interracial son and black father-in-law, confronted that fan.


CALVIN HENNICK, RED SOX FAN: And then the white fan right next to me middle-aged man leaned over and said, "She sang too long and she n- worded it up." It was the day after the Jones incident and he was sort of proving, "I can say whatever I want to say to whoever I could say it to." I think it was pointed at us.


SCHOLES: Now, Hennick summoned security, the fan was ejected and banned for life from Fenway Park. The Red Sox issuing a statement saying they will not tolerate racial slurs from fans and they have referred the matter to the Boston Police Department who is investigating.

Alisyn, the president of the Red Sox says he believes this is the first time ever that a fan has been banned from Fenway park.

CAMEROTA: There you go. The policy is changing. Zero tolerance. Thank you very much, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

CAMEROTA: So, no apology from Stephen Colbert for his crude Trump rant, but we will show you his response to the #firecolbert backlash.

Our media mavens here next.


[06:53:54] CAMEROTA: The "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert responding to criticism over a crude joke that he made about President Trump. Colbert implied that the president was taking part in a sexual act with Russia's Vladimir Putin. That rant, leading to a #firecolbert hashtag and calls for a boycott of his show.

So, here's what Colbert said last night.


STEPHEN COLBERT, "LATE SHOW" HOST: Folks, if you saw my monologue on Monday, you know that I was a little upset with Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine. So, at the end of that monologue, I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don't regret that.


I believe he can take care of himself. I have jokes. He has the launch codes. So, a fair fight. So, while I would do it again I would change a few words that were

cruder than they needed to be.


CAMEROTA: OK. Let's discuss this with CNN media analyst Bill Garter and CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter.

Great to see both of you.

Well, first of all, you know, look, I love Stephen Colbert.

[06:55:00] I know we all do.


CAMEROTA: However, I found this statement a little bit peculiar because President Trump didn't actually insult John Dickerson. He gave him a dismissive -- he dismissed him, as presidents do when they don't like a journalist's question. So, that wasn't anything unusual, I think.

CARTER: No, it wasn't over the top.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: He also likes to call Dickerson's show "Face the Nation" "deface the nation".

CARTER: "Deface the nation".

STELTER: Which I would say is insulting.

CAMEROTA: OK. You're right. That is insulting. But in terms of what he directly did to John Dickerson.

But furthermore, do you think, Brian, that it warranted such a crude joke on national television?

STELTER: I am surprised this joke made it on out of the writer's room. I'm surprised it made it on to the broadcast. I thought Colbert was sort of trying to have it both ways there telling his fans "I don't regret it," but, but, but yes, the words were too crude. That's a bit of an admission maybe designed to make this go away.

Remember, this happened on Monday night on this show. Tuesday, this was ripping through conservative media. It wasn't until Wednesday that he actually addressed it amid this #firecolbert hashtag.

CARTER: I think what one thing I'd say, Colbert worked in cable for a long time. They did this every night on cable.

CAMEROTA: Yes. But network is different.

CARTER: They made jokes every night. It's different. It's very different. They have broadcast licenses. They are more responsible. They could be called on the carpet for it. CAMEROTA: That was vulgar. That was high level --

CARTER: It was. It was a very vulgar joke. Obviously, it's something that his audience that loves him doesn't mind, but other people can use it against them, and so it became sort of a weapon for them to strike against the guy they don't like. I don't think it has any impact.

STELTER: Right. A lot of it is tribal.

CARTER: It's tribal. You can see from his fans, he makes a joke -- I don't have any regrets, his fans cheer like crazy. So, it's not going to impact him that way with his fans. It's pointless for them to say, oh, he should be fired. That's all pointless.

But I do think it will make him think more in the future maybe about this is a network show. You can't go quite the same.

CUOMO: What if he had been removed? I mean, that's why, you know, you may like the joke. You may not like the joke, but he has every right to tell the joke. If he didn't, even on the broadcast side, if he didn't offend one of the FCC guidelines, then he can say whatever he wants.

CAMEROTA: It does offend the FCC.

CUOMO: We haven't heard that. You may think that.

CAMEROTA: There are certain rules.


CARTER: There are, but the word was bleeped.

CUOMO: The word was bleeped.

CAMEROTA: Then it's OK.


STELTER: Let's give some credit to the Republican FCC chairman who was asked about this, who said, it's a free country, he can say whatever he wants, as long as he didn't violate those decency standards.

CUOMO: That's right.

STELTER: He can say whatever he wants.

CAMEROTA: If it weren't bleeped, it would have violated it, but it was bleeped.

CUOMO: That's right. That's the whole point. So, you can judge it. I like it, I don't like it. That's fine.

If he had been removed, I think you have an issue with it. Just so we don't go through it too fast, you guys are applying a Trump standard to how he treated John Dickerson.

STELTER: Wait, what's the Trump standard?

CUOMO: A lower standard than normal. I have interviewed a number of presidents. I have never seen a president do what he did to John Dickerson. Never.

CAMEROTA: Walk away?

CUOMO: No. He went that's it, and he goes and sits down when he knows he is on tape.

It's his right to do it, but let's not say, oh, that's not over the top. For him, it's not over the top. If President Obama had done that, forget about what you would have heard.

STELTER: That's the subtext of this entire conversation. This entire country is trying to figure out what the heck to do, how to talk about this president, how to cover this president as journalist, about how to joke about this president as comedians. There's a sense in we're in very unusual times, and we're seeing comedians go further than they would have gone with other presidents.

Now, we can debate all day how high the bar should be for respect and civility. I think we would all agree we want it to be high, and, yet, as you said, they're cheering. His fans are cheering.

CARTER: That's right.

CUOMO: And also, you have a lot of people who disagree with the notion about keeping the bar high. A lot of people want the bar low, and they're saying I don't respect the office, I don't respect the man. I mean, it's --

CARTER: But it has worked for Colbert. Colbert has done nonstop attack on --

CUOMO: Right.

CAMEROTA: And his ratings have gone up as a result.

CARTER: Exactly. He has found a voice, and it's because the country is extremely anxious about what's going on in this administration. There is a level of anxiety in the country, and they are responding to this kind of humor like I've never seen.

CUOMO: They're now the ignored majority, right? We talk about Trump. The Trump panel voters. We don't have the non-Trump panel voters that are majority of this country, you know, and they're watching these shows and they are sending us messages, saying, why are you always talking about Trump folk? Why aren't you talking about us? The majority of the country is against him.

So, Colbert is dealing with the majority when he's talking about Trump.

STELTER: I'm with Sean Hannity on this one. Hannity, and, by the way, I never said those words before.



STELTER: Hannity said, I don't support any kind of boycott because that's what the left is trying to do right now to people like Ann Coulter. Let's not try to shut down anybody's right to speak --

CUOMO: Good for him.

STELTER: -- in this country.

CAMEROTA: Yes, yes, look. Agreed. But you know, obviously, good judgment goes along with that.

CARTER: It does.

CAMEROTA: So, there's always the balance that were always forever trying to rise --



Thank you, gentlemen, very much.

And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next.

NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. We do begin start with breaking news. There's a big announcement from the royal family. Prince Philip, the husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, is retiring from public life.