Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Report: Texas GOP Calls ICE on Protesters, Scuffle Erupts; WH Says Relations with Merkel Fairly Unbelievable; Police Report That Tiger Woods Passed Breathalyzer. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 30, 2017 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, I'm Brooke Baldwin to now a very public breakdown of civility in a place literally built for civilized debate. This happens in the Texas capital on Memorial Day, the final day of the state legislative session basically a schoolyard shoving match broke out among several state lawmakers right there on the house floor. See for yourself.

In the backdrop, you have hundreds of protestors rallying against this new law that bans sanctuary cities in Texas. Republican Matt Rinaldi says he saw signs that declared some demonstrators were undocumented. So, he stood up and told fellow lawmakers that he called ICE, he called immigration officials. And Rinaldi says that is when one lawmaker assaulted him while another threatened him prompting Rinaldi to issue a warning that he would shoot his gun in self-defense. The accused lawmakers deny any assault.

We reached out to Rinaldi not once but three times to speak with him but so far got no response from Rinaldi. Lawmaker accused of threatening Rinaldi is Poncho Nevarez Also here state representative Justin Rodriguez who says he witnessed the whole confrontation. Gentlemen, thank you for coming on.

Let me begin with you, Representative Nevarez. What did representative Rinaldi say to you that got you fired up?

PONCHO NEVAREZ, STATE REPRESENTATIVE TEXAS: It's what he said to three of my colleagues in reference to the people that were in the gallery demonstrating against Senate Bill 4. He said, I called ICE and we're going to get them deported. That's is just wrong, there is something absolutely wrong and low about that, and that was what got my colleagues fired up and what got me fired up.

BALDWIN: Did he threaten you personally?

NEVAREZ: That came a little later. He did threaten me personally.

BALDWIN: What did he say?

NEVAREZ: I didn't hear it. I think Justin can probably speak to that. I was actually walking away.

BALDWIN: What did he say?

JUSTIN RODRIGUEZ, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, TEXAS: So, I can tell you what I heard. It was a second incident where Representative Rinaldi was a direct threat, basically said, I'm going to put a bullet in your head. That is a direct quote. I'm not the only one who heard that. It's important to know the context. There's no excuse for that kind of behavior, last day of the session. But there's also been, throughout this session and previous sessions, demonstrative debate about really anti-Latino legislation, redistricting, voter ID, and now this SB 4 bill that essentially puts our community on the defensive. And I think that boiled up yesterday. Certainly no one is proud of that but you can't be making threats to folks for their lives. We had spouses and kids on the floor yesterday. Really unfortunate and embarrassed, the body and Rinaldi owes the state of Texas an apology.

BALDWIN: Let's read this statement that they issued on Facebook. "Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me and other Democrats were being held by Poncho who said they would get me on the way to my car. He later approached me and reiterated that I had to leave at some point and he would get me and I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, get me, I would shoot him in self- defense." So, Representative Nevarez, did you threaten him?

NEVAREZ: I asked him to leave the floor.

BALDWIN: There's a difference between asking and threatening. Which was it?

NEVAREZ: Well, the thing is this. Representative Rodriguez hit this on the head. That kind of stuff is not acceptable on the house floor and I have to own that. But we were provoked. I was provoked. The point in getting him off the floor, we can't be doing that kind of stuff on the floor. The further you get away from stuff like that, and I'm talking physically, walking to the side of the rail, walking to the back hall, these things tend to diffuse themselves.

BALDWIN: I understand. I want you to own it as well. Did you threaten him?

[15:35:00] NEVAREZ: No. What I'm owning is if you look at the video, I got up in the guy's face. There's no need for me to do that. He dangled something in front of me and provoked me. But it doesn't take away from what started this which was this piece of legislation that gives people like Rinaldi license to feel like he can insult people and push us. And the fact is, we were provoked. I was provoked. They pushed us long and hard and they were pushing those people in the gallery and we're not going to stand for it anymore. We've had numerous occasions this session whereas a group, Mexican-American Legislative Caucus, the Democratic Caucus, we've been pushed and pushed and pushed and, frankly, Rinaldi is pushing and pushing and we're done with that.

BALDWIN: But gentlemen, you are elected officials. I mean, no matter which side of the issue you fall on, you guys nearly came to a full- out brawl on the house floor. What does that say to Texans, what does that say to Americans, children and the protesters there about civility.

RODRIGUEZ: I would say, Brooke, you're right. There's no place in politics or really in any walk of life to resort to any type of aggression or violence. I think we're all apologetic for this and we had families in attendance. The reality is, though, when you take it over the edge -- and I know he's not here to defend himself, he did not make a threat to premeditate and say he would put a bullet in my colleague's head, that certainly crosses a line that no one went to yesterday except for him. So, I would agree with you, we're all a little bit embarrassed about what happened yesterday, frustrations boiled over. It was a long time coming. The reality is, he's the one that crossed the ultimate line by making that threat to use a gun.

BALDWIN: We just can't be having this happen when we elect you all to represent us, whether it's a state office or nationwide. But I truly do admire both of you for coming on national tv and talking about it. Representative Nevarez and Rodriguez in San Antonio Texas, thank you.

NEVAREZ: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up, we do have more on our breaking news, the white house downplaying the war of words between President Trump and Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel. Why Sean Spicer says the relationship is quote/unquote fairly unbelievable.

[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What is the state of the U.S.-German relationship right now and how important is that relationship to the white house and the president and the American public?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the relationship that the President has had with Merkel, he would describe as fairly unbelievable. They get along very well. he has a lot of respect for her. They continue to grow the bond that they had during their talks in the G-7. Any views not just Germany but the rest of Europe as an important American ally during his conversations at NATO and the G-7, the president reaffirmed the need to improve our transatlantic relationship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Moments ago, Sean Spicer describing President Trump's relationship with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel as fairly unbelievable. I think he meant it like fairly unbelievable, like as in great. The president on offense tweeting, "we have a massive trade deficit with Germany. Plus, they pay far less than they should on NATO and military. Very bad for U.S. this will change."

Chancellor Merkel is doubling down today saying there are more reasons than ever before to take our fate into our hands in Europe. Barry is a director of the center on international security at the Atlantic Council and special assistant to Presidents Obama and George W. Bush on national security. Barry, thank you so much for being on with me. And from what I've read about you, you know, you think that we're just reading way too much into this perceived war of words, that it's not as big of a thing as people are making it out to be. BARRY PAVEL, DIRECTOR OF THE BRENT SCOWCROFT CENTER ON INTERNATIONAL

SECURITY, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Well, maybe it's a little bit of both. I think I am very worried about the direction of the relationship the United States and Europe and in particular Germany as the engine of Europe really need to be together. All of our major challenges in the world, you can go through the list, we need to work with the Europeans politically, diplomatically, militarily on all of the big challenges. So, we have to be in lock step with them and this is not a great sort of trend at all. It's quite wary. We don't want Germany off on its own. History has not treated that kindly for anyone's interests.

BALDWIN: But then Chancellor Merkel's comments yesterday from this beer hall, you know, is Sean Spicer reading the entire quote in context, do you think people were taking her out of context and overblowing this?

PAVEL: Well, no, I think there is some worry. I mean, from her first meeting in the white house where it was reported that white house officials handed her a bill of hundreds of billions, which is ridiculous because there's no such bill. We of course want allies to spend more on defense. We spend a lot. We want them to increase their spending to 2 percent of their global -- of their GDP but no one owes anything. We need each other.

BALDWIN: And just quickly, moving to the CNN reporter today, Barry, that the Russian government discussed potentially derogatory information that then candidate Trump and some of his top aides during the election and one source describes it as financial in nature. It could be exaggerated.

[15:45:00] PAVEL: It raises new questions but doesn't provide any new answers and let's get to the heart of it.

BALDWIN: Yes.

PAVEL: Russia's foremost goal is run by a former KGB officer is to destabilize and reduce the legitimacy of the U.S. political system and European political system. This could be very much part of their disinformation and influence campaign or it could be a fact. So, we have to let the process play out in the United States and we'll see what comes. But I think we have to take anything Russia says either from an intercepted communication or from a deliberate public statement. We have to take that with a large, large shaker of salt because they really want to destabilize us.

BALDWIN: Barry, thank you for your insight.

New details on this DUI arrest of Tiger Woods, including what happened during his breathalyzer test. What medications were in his system and how exactly police found him. We have all of those details for you, coming up.

[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Tiger Woods says he was not drunk when police arrested him for dui, and the police report is now confirming that. We're told that he passed his breathalyzer test, did not pass the field sobriety test. Tiger Woods apologized and acknowledged that he was on medication. Police also say that they found him asleep at the wheel, stopped on the side of the road. His speech was slurred and slow as he told officer he just returned from golfing in Los Angeles. So, with me now, Elizabeth Cohen, senior medical correspondent and Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. Elizabeth, first to you on the meds. Apparently on the police report there's a list of several prescription drugs that he was on or had been taking. Talk me through what they are and what sort of effect they would have on him.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: OK, Brooke. Let's go through them one by one. The first one on the left is Celexex. Interesting thing about that, we don't know what that is, not the name of a real drug. The second one is Vicodin, contains hydrocodone, an opioid pain medication and, of course, we've heard about those. Torex, an anti-inflammatory and Vioxx is listed. Don't know how he would have taken it all, it's been off the market for ten years.

So, let's focus on those two middle ones. Vicodin can cause lightheadedness, dizziness and sedation. Torex is associated with feeling dizzy or tired, so certainly many ways that all adds up, and then when you put those together, the situation can become even worse. Brooke?

BALDWIN: All right. So that's the meds. What about the law, Joey Jackson. DUI. In the eyes of the law.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes.

BALDWIN: Is there a difference whether you're drunk or you're on prescription meds?

JACKSON: There's a major distinction. So. let's back up. Obviously, you know, DUI and DWI, driving under the influence, you want to prevent people from being on the roads being in a condition that's hazardous to themselves and the other and the law factors in. Drugs are one thing. If you self-induce and you voluntarily take drugs and that impairs your judgment or ability, but when you're on prescription medication --

BALDWIN: When a doctor says here you go.

JACKSON: A doctor says you've had back surgeries and knee surgeries, you have ailments that require medication, we're going to give them to you, and as a result of that you have some reaction which causes, as the fine doctor has just described, issues concerning drowsiness and issues concerning your ability, that's not criminal. The fact is that we don't send people to jail for following doctor's orders taking medication and having these conditions. I'll go one step further. In this particular case, seemingly he pulled over to the side of the road. Now, in one report it suggests that he's blocking the roadway. In the citation, it says he's on the roadway but on the shoulder. So, we also encourage people, if you're not feeling well.

BALDWIN: Pull over.

JACKSON: If you're sleepy, pull over. Get yourself some rest. That appears to be what he was doing and then you go into the issues in terms of his cooperation with law enforcement. He, you know, did the test, obviously didn't pass the field sobriety test and I have to say those things are hard to pass under normal circumstances. Stand on one leg, touch your nose, you know, and walk and turn and do all the rest of it, but I think based upon the prescription medication he was on, he certainly has viable defenses, and I really don't see this case going very far at all knowing what we know now.

BALDWIN: So just quickly, take us in the room as he's with, you know, his lawyer crafting the statement in this mea culpa, what would have that been like?

JACKSON: I think you have to do that. When you're a star of that magnitude you want to accept the responsibility.

BALDWIN: With a mug shot, of all people.

JACKSON: Accept some responsibility and the issue becomes knowing that you're on medication, knowing that it could impair your judgment, your ability, make you sleepy, should you have been driving, that's one thing, but doing it in a manner where it's a violation of law is quite another, and I would suggest to you knowing what we know now, you know, could you question his judgment for actually getting in the car that late at night and driving because of these medications, but to suggest that it's criminal or something else, I don't see at this point that that's the case.

BALDWIN: Got it. Joey Jackson, thank you so much.

JACKSON: Pleasure.

BALDWIN: At least everyone is A-OK and Elizabeth Cohen, thank you as well.

We do have breaking news involving a test by the pentagon designed to intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile. Those details just coming in next.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: One software company is helping police spend more time patrolling the streets instead of writing reports. Take a look at this week's UPSTARTS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCOTT CROUCH, FOUNDER AND CEO, MARK43: For more experienced CEO if you look at the spectrum, but really for us what we found was a problem that desperately need attention. So, what we're doing is we're enabling law enforcement officers and all first responders to help keep our community safe by completely reinventing the way they interact with data. We are essentially returning 240,000 patrol hours a year back to the department, which means you have your officers on the streets for a longer time now to better serve the community. The light bulb moment is when we realized this is a nationwide issue and we found that the troopers out thereto are having a lot of issues entering reports and working with all the information and data.

Every investor we work with is selected very carefully for how they shape the image of the company and how much they add to actually our growth. You know, someone like Jeff adds a lot of credibility in the cloud industry and then someone like General David Petraeus adds a lot of input in the startup space. These are investigations into homicides, sexual assaults. We're dealing with all the victim information. What surprised me about running a company is really just the amount that you need to learn across so many disciplines. Really as a CEO you need to make sure that every single part of the condition is being well taken care of.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Now to some breaking news, that the pentagon is launching a test designed to intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile. Let's go to Barbara Starr live at the pentagon with more. Barbara, what specifically is this in preparation for?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Brooke, this test is underway right now as you and I speak. A short time ago the U.S. military launched a missile from van den berg air force base in southern California. This is an interceptor missile. It launched fast and high. It's going up into the atmosphere, and it is going to try and knock out of the sky another mile of that the U.S. launched from far out in the Pacific.

That missile essentially an intercontinental ballistic missile launch. The two countries that have that threat for the United States, potentially, of course, North Korea and Iran. This is a test that the U.S. had long planned, but it takes on a lot of meaning right now with North Korea -- tensions rising with the North Koreans saying they are working to try to develop an ICBM that could attack the U.S. this test underway as we speak. The two missiles have now launched just a short time ago, and we are awaiting, you're seeing some video of a similar test. We are awaiting right now the results from the pentagon. This is the equivalent of trying to knock a bullet out of the sky high in the atmosphere with another bullet, so we're waiting the results to see if this test is successful. It would be a huge step forward in trying to defeat the threat of an intercontinental ballistic missile launch against the United States. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Right, as you pointed out, timely and for two reasons, both because of, you know, goings on with Iran and North Korea. Barbara Starr, we'll stay really close to your reporting and find out how successful it was and how far-reaching this ballistic missile test would actually be more the United States. Barbara Starr, thank you so, so much at the pentagon.

STARR: Sure.

BALDWIN: Thanks so much for being with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Let's send things down to Washington, D.C. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts right now.