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Interview with Mick Mulvaney; Justice Department to Target Affirmative Action; What Influence is Trump's Family Having on His Presidency?; Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 2, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: We've got that going for us. But no, come back to what we're trying to accomplish with taxes, trying to get to sustained economic growth.

My comment about deficits was this. There's one kind of deficit that comes from government spending and an entirely different kind of deficit that comes from allowing people to keep their own money. It has to do with the allocation of capital.

I am willing and this administration is willing to sustain short-term deficits if the payoff in the long term is sustained 3 percent economic growth because the benefit to the country in the long term, five, 10, 15, 20 years of having that 3 percent economic growth again as we have had for more than two centuries is huge and we are willing to incur short-term deficits in order to do that.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: As an operating assumption, the higher the growth rate is, the smaller the problems are, with all the entitlements and a lot of other burdens on fiscal restraint.


BERMAN: Mick Mulvaney, I'm not joking around when I say we know that people are divided right now. We know that there's a lot of time being spent arguing from each sides' perspective. We spent a lot of time on the show talking about what matters. You're always invited to do exactly that on NEW DAY.

MULVANEY: Chris, thanks for giving me the time. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: You be well -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Chris. Another interesting story, is the Justice Department trying to get rid of Affirmative Action at colleges and universities? A new report on the issue next.


[07:30:10] CAMEROTA: "The New York Times" is reporting this morning that the Justice Department plans to take on Affirmative Action in college admissions. According to a document obtained by "The Times" the plan is to try to protect white applicants from discrimination.

Joining us to discuss is Matt Schlapp. He's the former political director for George W. Bush and current chairman for the American Conservative Union, and Van Jones, he's a CNN political commentator and a former special adviser to President Obama.

Gentlemen, great to have both of you.

Matt Schlapp, what is wrong with Affirmative Action?

MATT SCHLAPP, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: Nothing is wrong with it. I think it was well intended. The idea is, is that when you have populations that have faced serious discrimination, the government steps in to make sure that people are not doing things that break the law.


SCHLAPP: And discriminate against people. But --

CAMEROTA: So why now try to change it?

SCHLAPP: Well, the whole concept is eventually you want these programs to go away. Eventually you want to realize Dr. King's dream of a color blind society.

CAMEROTA: Have we gotten here? Is it time? Do you think that it has outlived now its usefulness?

SCHLAPP: Well, the American Conservative Union we have this project called the Family Prosperity Index. And what you're seeing in politics and what you're seeing in culture is there's actually tremendous hardship that is really wreaking havoc on rural white America, opioid addiction, suicides are going through roof.

So at some point in all of these programs, especially in these college admissions, Alisyn, you're saying to one person we're going to give you a leg up, we're going to give you the slot. But inevitably in every case you're actually taking slots away as well. And as a country we have to ask ourselves at what point do we have the right standards in these programs.

CAMEROTA: Van, your response?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that we're seeing a now pretty disturbing pattern with Jeff Sessions and with the Department of Justice. We really should be trying to especially -- we'll get to the white community which needs a lot of help as well, especially rural. We agree on that. But you've got some communities that you really need to be trying to open doors of opportunity and close prison doors.

Sessions seems to be going in the opposite direction. He seems to be wanting to double down on the failed drug war which is going to have more young urban youth going to prison and then ratchet back on the scholarships and the support to get them to college. You put that together and you've got a Justice Department that seems to have a very negative and disturbing view of the future for young African-Americans or young Latinos and others. The other thing is, when you look at the total approach, you also want

more people voting and you want better policing. He seems to be wanting to take a step back on the policing standards.


JONES: And yet not be helping on the voting standards. So you have a whole instance -- a pattern here.


JONES: That's very, very negative.

CAMEROTA: I understand. And so you're looking at the big picture and the pattern. But on Affirmative Action specifically, what about Matt's point, the conservative viewpoint, that poor whites are struggling also, and if in college admissions you always favor black or Latino applicants, that it's now no longer -- the goal of a level playing field isn't working exactly.

JONES: Well, the numbers don't bear out the concern yet. You have to admit, at some point you could get to a point where you're overcompensating. But if you look at the numbers they don't bear that out. But let's not compare apples and oranges here.

Matt is 100 percent correct. When you're talking about rural poverty, what's going on in small town America, we have not done enough. Democrats or Republicans have not done enough to respond to those crises.

But I think it's a mistake. Rather than turning on each other, we should turn to each other. We need to be doing a lot better by all kids especially low-income kids. But poverty is not the same as racial discrimination. You've got to be able to deal with both.

SCHLAPP: Can I do something very dangerous? Can I also agree with Van? That I also think that our prison system and our incarceration system should be focused on violent criminals. I do fear that we have this lock-them-up mentality. We put people in prison who we don't like instead of who we fear. And I want violent -- I want to focus on violent criminals.

So I do think Van has a good point there. I think that when it comes to all these questions, we have to have a fair understanding that when you hurt one American to help another American and you do it for all these reasons in employment or specifically at colleges, we have to see what the implications are for the person who is left behind.

And I just think in 21st century America with all of our problems and our problems are on our television sets all day long, but at some point we have to say, don't we all have a fair shake? Haven't we done a good job for half a century to try to change our laws to make sure that we are color blind and that everybody has --

CAMEROTA: It just depends on if you think that we're done with that work, if you think it's now a level playing field. JONES: Yes.

SCHLAPP: I would say no, I don't think it's a level -- I don't think we ever get to perfection or nirvana in this world.

CAMEROTA: So then --

SCHLAPP: But I think it gets better --


CAMEROTA: Minority students still need some help?

SCHLAPP: I think it gets better. I think your standards need to lower so I think what you have to do with the judicial standards to determine --

JONES: I disagree with a couple of things there, though.

[07:40:03] SCHLAPP: Well, let me just say -- I'll quickly summarize. There are legal standards on whether or not you can have these programs and when these programs have done what they needed to do.


SCHLAPP: And I actually think the scrutiny standards need to be raised so that you only have these programs when you can see real -- you're not having racial discrimination at Harvard, at Yale, at Princeton and Berkeley. It's absurd.


JONES: Well, on this point I see it differently. First of all, the Supreme Court has already ratcheted the standards up pretty high. They just visited this issue a little while ago. And basically what you've got to be able to show is a whole number of things. You've got to be able to show that there's a pattern of discrimination, not just at an institution, but that's important. You also -- it also turns out, our Supreme Court says, that colleges do have an interest in making sure that the student body is diverse.

It can't be overdone, but that is a problem. If you could come up with a situation where if you have the wrong set of standards, the entire student body --


CAMEROTA: Sure. Yes. Yes. But hold on a second. But bottom line, Van, are you comfortable that the Justice Department is going to look into whether it's time to rework affirmative action?

JONES: No. No. Because we just went through this with the Supreme Court. And there's -- if the Justice Department wants to lean forward and try to deal with racial discrimination, you still have states in this country that are blocking people from voting aggressively according to the Supreme Court. You still have police departments that are discriminating. You still have real serious barriers. They're backing away from that and they're focusing on this. I think it's a complete misallocation of resources.

CAMEROTA: OK. And we have to leave it there.


CAMEROTA: You have the first word. Thanks, Matt.

SCHLAPP: Sure. I'll come back and get the last word.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. Van, Matt, thank you very much -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Tough story. Routine traffic stop turns into an incredibly dangerous situation. Are you watching your screen? How did this officer get himself to safety?


[07:45:28] CAMEROTA: New this morning, the U.S. is testing an intercontinental ballistic missile. The unarmed missile was launched from California and it traveled more than 4,000 miles. Officials say this is not in response to North Korea's missile test, but instead to make sure America's nuclear program is safe, secure and effective.

CUOMO: Christopher Wray confirmed by the Senate as the new director of the FBI. Wray replaces James Comey of course who was fired by President Trump.

During his confirmation hearing he told lawmakers he would never pledge loyalty to the president. That's not a criticism. The loyalty is to the Constitution, to faithfully execute its laws. And he said if he were ever pressured to drop an investigation, he would resist or resign. Five Democrats opposed his confirmation.

CAMEROTA: OK. This is some video you have to see. There's this Fort Worth police officer, this was a routine traffic stop, it turns into a fight for his life. Officer Matthew Lesell was at the driver's side window as you see there. He was handing out a ticket when an out-of- control car crashed right into him.

But wait a second. Look what happens next. He summons the strength to lift himself up somehow and get out of the line of traffic. He is, we're happy to say, recovering from minor injuries. The out-of- control driver is facing charges. In other words, the officer got up and I believe issued a citation to the man who just plowed into him.

CUOMO: That is -- this is one of those situations on your screen that you have to file under one category. There but for the Grace of God go I, because the difference between surviving and not surviving that is literally fractional.

CAMEROTA: And by the way, this is why police officers tell us all the time there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. It's never routine. CUOMO: Good luck to him and his family who are dealing with his

injuries. And I hope he gets back soon.

All right. So some weather news for you. Slow-moving line of storms set to soak some major cities. Parts of Florida, you take a look at this, severe flooding from all this wind and rain that came with this tropical depression named Emily. This woman getting around Miami Beach by kayak.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has your forecast, and for every kind of cool scene like that of someone taking advantage, boy, there's a lot of hardship.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, that's extremely hot. It is August.

Chad, thank you very much.

So President Trump's family is at the center of some controversy. How are Ivanka, Jared, Don Junior and Eric affecting their father's administration?

Our panel weighs in next.



SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The statement that Don Jr. issued is true. There's no inaccuracy in the statement. The president weighed in, as any father would, based on the limited information that he had.


CUOMO: Sanders, straight faced, looking down, consulting with her notes, and then giving another misleading answer to a very basic question.

What did the president have to do with his son's statement about his meeting with Russians? The story keeps changing. Why?

Well, there are a lot of reasons but it's certainly points us in the direction of this controversy surrounding the influence of the parent -- of the children of the president and his son-in-law. What is their role in the presidency? What impact do they have?

Let's discuss. We got CNN contributor and writer for "Vanity Fair" Emily Jane Fox. And CNN contributor and author of the "Truth About Trump," Michael D'Antonio.

Emily Jane, what do we see so far in the terms of the role and the reality of Ivanka, Jared, on the presidency itself?

EMILY JANE FOX, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think that there's a lot of discussion about the influence that Jared and Ivanka have in the White House, in the West Wing in particular. To me the most stunning influence that they've exerted is over personal decisions. So they may not have had a tremendous impact on policy so far but we saw them involved in ousting Corey Lewandowski throughout the campaign.

We know that Jared Kushner supported ousting former FBI director James Comey. We know that they wanted to get Reince Priebus out of the White House which is why a source in the White House told me they're really supportive of bringing in Anthony Scaramucci who they know also had that same goal. It worked. They didn't personally care for Anthony Scaramucci after what happened last week and now Scaramucci is done. So their real influence and the real muscle big flex has been over hiring and firing people who surround them and the presidency.

CUOMO: And what's the early word on competence? Are people impressed with what Ivanka and Jared bring to the table? I mean, he's getting a lot of scrutiny, the son-in-law, right now for some awkward comments he made to interns about the state of Middle East peace and his apparent ignorance to what's happened in the past and its relevance.

[07:55:07] FOX: I think it depends on who you ask. If you look at "The Wall Street Journal" transcript that was released in the "Wall Street Journal's" interview with the president last week, the president referred to Jared Kushner as a good boy which is not necessarily a vote of confidence for his maturity and especially when you come to look at all the things that he's responsible for in the West Wing.

But they're both given broad slates and huge responsibility in the West Wing and in some ways that's a vote of confidence for them. And in some ways that's a way for them to shirk any real responsibilities when you've so many things you're in charge of, you tend to not really be in charge of anything.

CUOMO: A mandate is tough. This is a tough job. None of them has ever done anything like this before. To say that they're not over their head would be impossible. How can they not be?

So, Michael, what does that take us to? That takes us to this controversy surrounding Don Jr. All right? He made bad choices at a minimum in terms of how he conducted himself with this Russian meeting. The e-mail chain makes that very clear. What do you make of this inability to get a straight answer out of the White House about the role?

The attorneys came out and said the president had no role. Then find out from the "New York Times" well, he was involved. Then the "Washington Post" comes out and says in fact he dictated language in the statement, and now the White House as you see in the form of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you know, studiously reading her notes, making sure she gets the message right, straight faced and saying well, he weighed in as any father would do.

His son is not 13. He's almost 40.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he's not 13. He's almost 40. And I think you had experience with a father who was in politics and your father would have been very careful not to advise you to do anything that was deceptive or deflecting. And if he had been involved in a conversation like this would have had the law and the interest of the American people foremost in mind. That's where family has to be set aside.

It makes this whole picture very confusing because on the one hand, as Emily said, these kids -- but they're not kids -- get a lot of responsibilities, but on the other, they're so defused that they're not really responsible for anything. And we have to really assume that there's constant contact between.

CUOMO: Sure.

D'ANTONIO: Not only the children and the president, but also all these cronies who are around him. No one really disappears from Donald Trump's orbit. That's why Corey Lewandowski was at that Boy Scouts speech.

CUOMO: Right.

D'ANTONIO: This is -- I would imagine that Scaramucci is going to be calling the president at some point and the president will take his call.

CUOMO: Well, I mean, look. There's always this talk around Trump, Michael, and you spelled some of this out in your earlier work about the difference between being an intimate and an instrument. And that people sometime believe they're one and they're the other.

But at the end of the day, Emily Jane, I mean, you know, you're a child of the president. Yes, they're all adults. I don't mean it as a pejorative to call them the kids. I mean, they are, but they're all adults. Of course they're going to have an intimacy with their father that can't be ruled away by hierarchy but still, Ivanka Trump has a foot in both realities, right?

She's a staffer on one level. She works in the West Wing. She's the daughter. So she puts out this tweet, if we can put it up there for people. You know, how you see it is really a function of where you're coming from. "Looking forward to serving alongside John Kelly." OK? That was all a lot of critics heard. Because, one, why didn't she call him general? And two, what do you mean working alongside? He's supposed to be in charge of everyone. But is that a realistic expectation when you're talking about a daughter?

FOX: Look, I think it's unrealistic to think that they're not going to speak to their father. This is someone who they've worked alongside. She's worked alongside for 35 years. But I also think that they are -- I know from one White House official they're incredibly happy to have a sense of professionalism return to the West Wing. And so I think she's happy to work under John Kelly as long as it serves her purpose.

CUOMO: Right. I mean, the problem isn't the connection. It's the competence. I mean, that's why you have to go and listen to these comments for yourselves about what Jared Kushner was saying to these interns and how he says, you know what happened in the past with Middle East peace doesn't really matter. You know, and things now, we've got a clean slate.

It's the competence. It's not the cooperation, it's not the intimacy that's the concern.

Michael, Emily Jane, thank you so much for the perspective. Appreciate it.

There is a lot of news this morning. An explosive lawsuit that goes to the heart of fake news. What do you say? Let's get after it.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I think what's hurting the legislative agenda is Congress's inability to get things passed.

CUOMO: A rift is growing between President Trump and Senate Republicans.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm not going to vote to change the rules of the Senate. Having a minority voice is probably good for the country.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: The American people need a president that puts their interests first. Not someone who plays political games with their health care.

SANDERS: The president weighed in as any father would based on the limited information that he has.