Return to Transcripts main page


Health Care Plan Gaining Momentum; Immigration Talks; FaceBook Russia Ads. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired September 18, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] REP. TRENT FRANKS (R), HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Legislation I think is a step in a much better direction and only time will tell exactly what form it takes. But I would suggest to you that some of us in the House might be able to support that if we can get it out of the Senate. The House almost always gets their work done. The Senate rules almost prevent them always from doing theirs.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It sounds like if it's Graham-Cassidy or nothing, you would support Graham-Cassidy.

FRANKS: Well, if it's Graham-Cassidy or Obamacare, yes.

BERMAN: All right, Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona, interesting discussion. Appreciate your time this morning, sir.

FRANKS: And thank you, John, very much.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John, another issue we've been covering very closely. There's growing concern among some Democrats about the bipartisan agreement to protect dreamers. These Democrats say they're skeptical about the president keeping his word on this. One of them joins us to explain why, next.


CAMEROTA: All right, each day we move closer to the deadline for so- called dreamers to be deported unless Congress acts. Our next guest is one of the most outspoken immigration advocates in Congress. He has used very strong language to express his anger at the administration over their treatment of dreamers.

[08:35:03] Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez. He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Great to see you, congressman.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: All right, let's go back in time to September 5th. That's when the president announced that dreamers would have to go unless Congress figures out some sort of protection for them. You were so angry on that day that you lashed out at the chief of staff, John Kelly. Let me read what you said that day.

General Kelly, when he was head of the Homeland security, lied straight to the faces of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about preventing the mass deportation of dreamers. General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear. He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House, along with the white supremacists and those enabling the president's actions by just following orders.

A lot's happened since then. Do you regret speaking that strongly and criticizing John Kelly?

GUTIERREZ: Let me just say this. I could have been more careful with the use of my words. And there are times that you need to re-evaluate. Having said that, I saw him as head of Homeland Security deport grandmothers who had been for 15 years reporting dutifully to Homeland Security with their American citizen grandchildren. Heartless actions and increasing deportations against people who presented no threat.

And he said to me, not further than this distance, I'm the one that's stopping the dreamers from getting deported when he was head of Homeland Security. I care about them. I'm defending them and protecting them. Then he goes and becomes head, and it was a pretty heartless thing to do.

So, yes, you can always be more careful. And I will probably be talking more about that in the future. You can choose your words more carefully. But having said that, it really hurt. It was really painful.

CAMEROTA: But you --

GUTIERREZ: And I think that we need to -- we need to set a standard for everybody to move forward.

CAMEROTA: But instead of blaming President Trump, you blamed John Kelly, because he had spoken directly to you? I mean why lash out at John Kelly? And why -- why bring his military service into it, I mean since he's so celebrated for that?

GUTIERREZ: Let me say this. I didn't look at him in terms of his military. What I looked at is the politician. Somebody who had gone to work for Donald Trump. I mean I sat there and I thought hundreds of dreamers are serving in the armed forces of the United States, sacrificing their lives in defense of this nation. Thousands of members of our transgender community, many of whom have given up their lives in defense of our nation, where was he. He wasn't speaking about those men and women in our military service and families that have become under attack. Attack why? And so I thought of 800,000 young people. I meet with them every day. It is a painful situation to watch what they go through. Again, can you use words more carefully? Certainly you can.

CAMEROTA: John Kelly responded to you after you said that about him. He then put out this statement. This was about a week later. As far as the congressman and other irresponsible members of Congress are concerned, they have the luxury of saying what they want as they do nothing and have almost no responsibility. They can call people liars, but it would be inappropriate for me to say the same thing back to them. As my blessed mother used to say, empty barrels make the most noise.

Obviously he was directing that at you. But we've advanced since then. Since all of this, you -- between you and John Kelly, then President Trump had the meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi where it sounded like they hatched a deal to protect the dreamers. Do you think that's going to happen? Are you heartened by what you've heard?

GUTIERREZ: Here's what I think. I think that Donald Trump took an action against 800,000 of our youngest, most vulnerable people. And the American public should understand something about the 800. They've been through a security background check, not once, because they have to do it every two years. Many of them have done it three times. They've submitted their fingerprints. They have absolutely no criminal background. And they're going to school. They're paying taxes. Ninety- one percent of them are working.

So I have school teachers. I have doctors. I have engineers. I have people of all facets. But, most importantly, I have people who are moms too of children and they're wives and husbands, and they shouldn't be used as political fodder by Donald Trump. What he kept saying, and you could find Donald Trump saying, throughout -- well, first I was going to get rid of them but now they're good kids. I'm going to do -- remember he used to say, I'm going to do something real special. Real special? You have six months. And if you read very clearly the statement by the White House on that they said, you've got six months to get ready to leave the only country most of them know.

CAMEROTA: But is this -- but is this going to happen?


CAMEROTA: Is Congress and whatever Nancy Pelosi and Schumer have done, are they going to save these folks?

GUTIERREZ: Great question. Here's what I think. As you watched, and I watched, they passed a budget. They have a continuing resolution. They lifted the debt ceiling and we did the hurricane relief. Ninety Republicans walked away. That means today their operating majority is 152. They cannot pass a budget. They cannot increase the debt ceiling. They can't do anything moving forward. And, as we all know, that budget and debt ceiling vote was 90 days.

[08:40:29] CAMEROTA: Yes.

GUTIERREZ: So that means some time before Christmas we're going to have to go back. And all I am saying is the following. I am not going to go back and I am encouraging Republicans, and I will suggest to you, a majority of members of the House in the democratic Caucus clearly will not vote --


GUTIERREZ: For a CR, will not vote to increase the debt ceiling unless something happens, which is 800,000 visas for the dreamers.

CAMEROTA: Unless you protect the dreamers, you're not going to vote on a continuing resolution?

GUTIERREZ: Why -- look, they're in the majority. It's their budget. They run the White House. They run the Senate. They run the House. You want to have a budget. Do your budget. You don't want to protect dreamers, then do your own budget.

Look, part of the Democrats' responsibility is to be an opposition and to take whether they attack -- when they attack our LGBT community, to stand up for them, or when they attack women and productive rights. And, in this case, very vulnerable dreamers.

CAMEROTA: OK, we'll see what happens over these next months.

Congressman, thank you very much for coming in to share your thoughts on this.


BERMAN: All right, Alisyn, thanks so much.

Dozens arrested overnight in St. Louis as protestors react to the acquittal of a police officer in the shooting death of a black suspect. We'll have the details, next.


[08:45:48] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Number one, President Trump makes his debut at the United Nations today. The president will lay out his foreign policy vision in a highly anticipated speech tomorrow.

BERMAN: A major focus of the U.N. this week, North Korea's intensifying nuclear threat. U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, issuing a strong warning, saying that North Korea will be destroyed if their reckless behavior continues.

CAMEROTA: Hurricane Maria is rapidly intensifying and taking aim at Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This storm is forecast to be a category four hurricane before making landfall.

BERMAN: Protests underway this morning in St. Louis. Demonstrators reacting to the acquittal of a former white police officer in the shooting death of a black suspect. Last night, at least 80 arrests were made when peaceful protests turned violent.

CAMEROTA: No escaping politics at last night's primetime Emmy Awards. Host Stephen Colbert spent a good portion of his monologue poking fun at President Trump. And Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary, stealing the show with a surprise cameo.

BERMAN: Those were the five things to know. Now here's what to watch.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 9:30 a.m. Senator Menendez trail continues in New Jersey.

10:30 a.m. Florida Governor Scott and HHS Secretary Price talk Irma.

8:30 p.m. Detroit Lions take on New York Giants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a brave man, Mr. Stevens. Your testimony will save lives.

Mr. Stevens, this is your new name. This is your new house. And the perfectly inconspicuous SUV. You must become invisible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll take my chances.


CAMEROTA: OK, back to one of our top stories.

Facebook now turning over its Russia-linked ads to Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation. Is this a turning point in the Russia probe?


[08:50:41] CAMEROTA: FaceBook says it has handed over Russia-linked ads and other records to Special Counsel Robert Mueller after his office obtained a search warrant for those things.

Joining us now to talk about where the investigation is, is former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. He believes this is the most significant development in Mueller's Russia probe since the FBI raided Paul Manafort's home last month.

Mr. Mariotti, thank you very much for being here.

Tell us why this FaceBook development is so big.

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So up until now what we saw was Mueller taking a look at fairly narrow areas. So he was looking at, for example, whether Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn had lied on disclosure forms. We knew that he had some sort of tax investigation because he had engaged in the IRS criminal investigations unit. We knew he was looking at obstruction, which is actually a fairly contained thing, you know, whether or not Comey was fired for improper reasons.

And now, for the first time, Bob Mueller is investigating individuals from Russia. He's investigating whether foreigners made contributions illegally in a U.S. election. And so for the first time ever we could see an indictment that has Russian people and Americans in the same charging document, the same indictment. That's -- to me that's pretty shocking. That's pretty big news.

BERMAN: And -- and the fact that apparently a search warrant was involved is also something of significance, you believe?

MARIOTTI: For sure. So what that means is the fact that a search warrant was involved means that Bob Mueller had to gather evidence, put it in an affidavit written by a federal agent and present it to a federal judge. So you literally had a neutral third party, a federal judge, who decided that there was good reason to believe that a crime had been committed and that evidence in that crime existed on FaceBook. So it's not just, you know, well, Bob Mueller is looking at this or decided to take a look at it. It says he's already got evidence. He's closing in on foreign individuals who tried to undermine our elections. And he has enough evidence to convince a judge that he should get a search warrant. It's pretty significant.

CAMEROTA: But just to be clear, I mean when you say that we could see foreign names and American names on the same charging document, you mean that people from FaceBook could be charged with a crime for taking money for these ads?

MARIOTTI: I don't know -- so let me explain that. I don't know who in the United States, if anyone, was involved in helping the Russians. You know, maybe no one -- maybe they did it all on their own. But if you know about criminal activity and you help to make it succeed, you're guilty of aiding and abetting that crime. And so given that Bob Mueller already has evidence of a crime that occurred on, you know, on and through the FaceBook servers involving foreign nationals, it is not inconceivable that Americans could get caught up in that. And, really, this is the first charge or the first -- I would say the first thing that he's looking at in this investigation that suggests that we could see that sort of charge coming on.

BERMAN: Because collusion, as you well know, is not a legal term, right? Collusion is a word we've been using for some months right now. But if there were Americans somehow involved with the Russians who you say, you know, may be breaking the law here, that connection would put them in legal jeopardy.

One of the things that people have been asking, you know, FaceBook -- Russia used FaceBook to place these ads. How did they determine the analytics? How did they determine where to run the ad ads? How to target them? Was that information provided by any American?

MARIOTTI: You should join Mueller's team. I think those are very good questions. And I think those are questions that people on Mueller's team are going to be asking.

You know, we have heard -- like you just said, we've heard this term collusion thrown about. It doesn't really mean anything legally. But what I just talked about, aiding and abetting, that does. And same with conspiracy. Conspiracy is when you agree to commit a crime. You don't have to know about every aspect of the crime. You don't have to know everyone involved. But if somebody here in the United States agreed to be part of this in some way, they are criminally libel.

And so, you know, the time will tell what Mueller finds. But as you point out, there's a lot of digital evidence that Mueller could look at, like, for example, the targeting information in terms of how to target these ads. He might be able to match that up with communications and show that Americans were helping Russians target those ads. Obviously I don't know. I'm not part of Mueller's team. But it's -- we -- for the first time we could see a path to that happening.

[08:55:06] CAMEROTA: Renato Mariotti, thank you very much for giving us your legal expertise here.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right, we're going to do "The Good Stuff," next.

BERMAN: Let's do it.

CAMEROTA: Let's do it.


BERMAN: Time now for "The Good Stuff."

Meet Florida Deputy James Brolik (ph).


DEPUTY JAMES BROLIK (singing): Beyond the sea, somewhere waiting for me.


BERMAN: I love that. He is dancing and singing "Beyond the Sea" with a lovely lady named Pat. This is a shelter set up at a senior center in Florida during Hurricane Irma. During the storm, Deputy Brolik spotted Pat looking sad. She was apparently afraid of what Irma would do to their home, her friends, her pets, so he decide today get her mind off things. And from that smile you can see on Pat's face right there, it certainly worked.

CAMEROTA: That's beautiful. He's obviously going way above and beyond the call, but he seems to be enjoying it.

BERMAN: She was a good dancer. I would enjoy that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, she was.

BERMAN: She knew what she was doing.

CAMEROTA: I also liked the running commentary that she was providing while he was singing to the crowd. That was fantastic.

[09:00:03] All right, John, thanks so much for being here.

BERMAN: Great to be here.

CAMEROTA: Good to see you.

Time now for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: That -- that made my morning so much that I will forgive Berman from switching sets for the morning.