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Trump Supports Moore Despite Sex Abuse Allegations; David Cassidy Died At 67. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 21, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN TONIGHT NEWS GUEST HOST: This is "CNN tonight." I'm Chris Cuomo in for Don Lemon. No matter where you look tonight you're going to hear the news that President Trump is supporting Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore. But it is why he is doing it that should really be the headline. Here's the President today addressing the man accused of assaulting two teenagers, one 14 at the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat, Jones. I've looked at his record, it's terrible on crime, it is terrible on the border, and it is terrible in the military. I can tell you for a fact we do not need somebody that is going to be bad on crime, bad on the border, bad for the second amendment?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, is an accused child molester better than a Democrats in an accused child molester?
TRUMP: Look, he denies it. I mean if you look at what is really going on and you look at all things that have really happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it didn't happen. And you know you have to listen to him also, you are talking about he said 40 years ago this did not happen. So, you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: What we are seeing is a perfect storm of politics. Some parts are about expedience. Some are just ugly. And the timing matters. This the seventh day of his return from Asia, the President finds the country reeling in accusations about powerful men in politics and media. You got Congressman John Connors, Senator Al Franken, New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush, CBS anchor Charlie Rose. Roy Moore isn't the only name out there anymore. And there is safety in numbers, and Moore is probably the most adamant denier of the claims against him. And if anyone is going to respect a denier of allegations of sexual misconduct in a robust double down like we saw from the Moore team today as they attacked accusers, it would be the President who did the same thing in the face of dozens of allegations.
And then there is the raw politics, Trump likes to defy the establishment even if his Party and its leadership are on the side of the alleged victims. And in the end the GOP needs the seat in the senate. Trump may need it even more than the Party does. You put it all together and now the President backing Moore is no shocker at all. The question is, is it a good thing? Well, that depends on what you value and what team you're on. That takes us to our first guest. Someone who will surely be smiling, Joel Pollack, Senior Editor at Large for Breitbart. Good to have you, sir.
JOEL POLLACK, SENIOR EDITOR AT LARGE, BREITBART: Good to be with you.
CUOMO: You like the move. Why?
POLLACK: Well I think most people in Alabama have made up their minds whether they believe Roy Moore or not. So now the race actually shifts to looking at the Democrat, Doug Jones. And he is not the kind of Democrat the Party used to nominate to run in red states or red districts. He is far to the left. He has positions on gun control, abortion, the border that are far to the left of most Alabama voters. So it's natural that the public focus on his rhetoric and decide whether he is a capable representative of the state today or not. And that is where Donald Trump went today. Saying look we don't need a liberal Democrats in that scene, I think that is going to be the next phase of this debate.
CUOMO: Well, there's a few assumptions in there, right, Joe? I mean, obviously this is in part about the math. The GOP needs the seat, Trump needs the seat. But it is at what cost? You said they made up their minds about Moore, now they move to Jones. I don't know about that because it seems to put on balance on a moral issue, and a potential criminal issue not in terms of prosecutions, you know the statute of limitations it's not going to happen. But this isn't just a political issue. This guy sought on crime, this guy was accused by someone who was 14 years old that the time. Those aren't apples to apples.
POLLACK: You know tribal behavior in American politics is not new. Back in 2000 Democrats in Missouri elected a dead man to the senate ahead of John Ashcroft. You rather have a living person than a dead person in the senate although even the low ratings of congress, I am not sure anymore, but these kinds of things happen. Jessie Jackson Jr. was re-elected when he was under federal investigation and later went to jail. And the question for voters isn't really about what happen 40 years ago, people might be angry about it, but the real question are the issues they're facing today whether taxes, foreign policy, and immigration. And voters really want to have someone in congress who reflects their preferences. Obviously character counts and all is fair, love, war and politics, but I think voters are starting to look at issues as well. And Doug Jones, the Democrats is doing the smart thing by trying to run on those issues, and you're going to start to see the Moore campaign transition to that as well.
[22:05:06] CUOMO: But what is this about is an echo effect of how we respect women who come forward and one of the confusing things here is the President seemed to speak to that today. Let's play the sound of the President talking about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Women are very special. I think it's a very special time,
because a lot of things are coming out, and I think that is good for our society. And I think it's very, very good for women. And I'm very happy a lot of these things are coming out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe the accusers?
TRUMP: I'm very happy it's being exposed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: He is happy it's being exposed, it's a good thing. But then he just by implication, says that the women, he doesn't believe them. He believes the denial of Roy Moore. Let me ask you just for context, do you believe the accusers in this situation, Joel?
POLLACK: Well, I think Trump was saying something different than what you are imputing to him. I think he has, the White House says that the accusers are credible and at the same time, Trump said he finds Roy Moore credible. Now which side is conclusive? We don't know and it is very difficult when you have this accusations to find out who is telling the truth. My impression is, I believe Roy believes he is telling the truth. I believe that he thinks this never happened, I think that some of the allegations that are made about him are more credible than others. I think Gloria Allred did no favor when she refused to submit that yearbook to independent forensic analysis, before having some kind of political surface in the senate. Voters are going to look at that and say we can't really decide what happened 40 years ago. Both side seems pretty convince to telling the truth. We have to look at what they're saying now, how they're behaving now. And they're looking at Roy Moore, and coming out with teams of lawyers disputing this and that. And for his supporters that is going to be enough. For people not with Roy Moore in the beginning, that is not going to be enough. Right now it is going to be about issues and Doug Jones and whether he is too liberal for Alabama.
CUOMO: But this an issue too obviously. You know both sides can't be credible right?
POLLACK: Both sides can be credible. You can have people going through difference experiences and telling different stories.
CUOMO: Not all accusations are equal that is of course true. That is so obvious, but I was saying in it context, because of what we're seeing in this movement now. As we see more accusations come up, you have to see a fresh appraisal each time. However, when a 14-year-old, you know, at the time, perceives she is being touched by somebody, the other person says yeah, no, that is not what happened. One of them is not telling the truth. You understand?
POLLACK: Sure. But we've also seen instances where these kind of allegations are made and they fall apart later. My law professor in Harvard Allan Dershowitz was accused of having underage sex with a woman on an airplane and he vigorously denied it.
CUOMO: Both sides were not credible there either. Dershowitz was credible. The other side was B.S. That is why it went away.
POLLACK: If you look at the media coverage at the time. There are often sides that are credible, and you have to decide which one is conclusive. That is what juries have to do in court cases.
CUOMO: There will be no jury here that is why it's important. It just seems, though, this is a reflective of a movement that is going on in the country. You are absolutely right that the issues matter to people. You just have to add this in with an issue, and it looks pretty large because we are talking about some pretty pernicious allegations. This is young woman, an older man in his 30s and what his behavior was like, that is why it means so much to people. And it will come down to voters, because there's no other vetting. That is why the moral agency of politicians has become so important. That is why we were chasing and you guys as well to hear what the GOP leadership would say, what the President would say. And the silence was deafening. Right Joel, Trump never really delays talking about anything if he wants to. Here he was quiet. Why do you think he was quiet so long?
POLLACK: Well, I think the facts had to come out. You had the development of some facts, you had allegations, and some responses. Some of the allegations are frivolous. I saw on CNN today there was a story about how Roy Moore first noticed his wife, when she was 15 or 16. That is juts frivolous, he didn't marry her till eight years later.
CUOMO: Why is it frivolous? Is it untrue?
POLLACK: It is completely frivolous, I met my wife when she was 17, other people had met their wives when -- it makes no difference at all unless you're trying to use that to corroborate allegations that have nothing to do with that perfect --
CUOMO: But why are you making that leap? Roy Moore wrote in his book that he noticed her, right? I knew Kala was going to be a special person in my life. Moore wrote about it when he first saw her when she was 15 years old, he wrote it again dating her when she was 23. A year before (inaudible).
[22:10:05] POLLACK: He wrote this book, because it is completely uncontroversial that CNN made a big news story out of it today in order to make it look like there's something sinister about being someone (inaudible).
CUOMO: Isn't that the way you took it? And it's contextual this is pattern for this man, that he does take notice of women at that age. I mean how is that frivolous?
POLLACK: It's not frivolous if you're judging his character, but it's frivolous in a legal sense. And you're accusing him of doing something that is illegal. And when presentation is made that these legal relationships are somehow related to something he did which is illegal, then you're smearing the man essentially by lumping in his relationship with his wife, which as far as we know has been solid 32 years with four kids, I don't know how many grandkids with relationships that he had when he was single in this murky area that nobody really care.
CUOMO: I would be careful, because you are drawing a lot -- I know you guys like to do this, but you're drawing a lot of implications from something where they weren't said. This is once again where he noticed a young woman, he thought something about her, and he remembered it years later and wound up marrying her. It is what it is. What you decide to make it into as instructive of that is much on the reader and anybody else, but why is all of this important?
Because we're at a very sensitive time in terms of how we understand this behavior towards women. And what we want to endorse and what we want to stop. And that is why when the President says, well, he denies it. That is good enough for me. And we see further muddying of it coming from Alex Marlow. He says, great, what is it, man? It used to be clear. Now it seems to be any sex that the woman ends up regretting that she had. Do you believe that? Do you believe that you're not really sure when something's rape, Joel?
POLLACK: You know, I knew you were going to bring this quote on. It's the media matters quote. I guess it goes around the talking points, but what is interesting --
CUOMO: Answer the question. What do you think, Joel?
POLLACK: I'm going to get there.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
POLLACK: People need to know where the quote comes from. It left out what Alex said at the beginning. He was talking about campus culture and the situation where young men are being accused on campus. There are famous cases such as the mattress girl at Columbia University who claimed that she has been rape, when it turned out it was consensual sex between her and a young man and his life was ruined in Columbia, because of this accusations. She became a national celebrity, a symbol of victim's right. He actually turned around and sued the University, and they had to come out and apologize. So what Alex is talking about is true, there are situations where this happens. And there are debates what constitutes consensual sex or not, you got to include that context --
CUOMO: Listen, you can keep saying media matters, you can as much as you want, who care, and I don't care, where else --
POLLACK: Have you listen to the interview?
CUOMO: I have the quote that says rape used to have a narrow definition. Rape used to have a definition from where it was. It's from Alex Marlow. It's a sound on tape.
POLLACK: Chris, you took the tape from a partisan activist group called media matters. Do you think context matter?
CUOMO: You can't come up with a context where it is not -- POLLACK: You are dangerous to its allegations --
CUOMO: You ignore what's rape and what isn't rape. What we're dealing with in our culture right now Joel is we're trying to figure out how you treat women and how you don't treat women. And when you say something like who knows what rape is anymore, and when you say something the guy denies it and that is good enough for me, it sends a message. Are you concerned about that message at all, or do the politics of having a seats in the senate just overpower it?
POLLACK: You know, there are serious allegations right now against CNN. It happen to be allegations of racial discrimination. 175 plaintiffs in the nest lawsuit that is going to be filed, we are told 205 plaintiffs, this are very serious allegations. Do you think you work for a racist organization? Do you think you have to take those accusers at their word?
CUOMO: No. There's an ongoing litigation. We won't have ongoing litigation here. You can distract all you like. I'll give you an A for effort, but what I'm saying at the end of the day either you're worried about these kinds of signals or you're not. You ducked the question the first time. Thanksgiving's coming, I'll give you a second bite of the apple. Are you concerned when he denies it that is enough for me, we need that seat in the senate, are you concerned about that kind of politics? Are you ok with it?
[22:15:04] POLLACK: I'm concerned about sexual harassment against women outside the context of politics and inside the context of politics. And I think when these allegations come up during political season, before election days, the people are trying to believe one side or the other base on their political allegiances. So it's actually bad for victims when their claims are handled in this way. A lot of people in Alabama are wondering why this didn't come out earlier. That is not just to question the credibility of the victim, but they would have liked to have known this earlier because it's very serious information if it's true. And they would have liked to pick a candidate that wasn't in the middle of this sort of thing. Those victims are not going to be believed if they deserve to be believe said, and they do deserve to be listened to, if it happens this way. I am not saying it come up during election season, it happens. But outside the context, we have to care not just when Hollywood's imploding and not just when Charlie Rose is getting fired from CBS. And not just when senate seat is up for grabs. It has to be important all the time.
CUOMO: Then every time it happens you have to respect it, and you have to give it the dignity of hearing them out, and not attacking them and not telling a different back story about who they are, and assailing the timing and ignoring the fact they don't want to come forward. They don't want to get picked apart by people. Last word. We got to go.
POLLACK: The legal principle is there's always two sides. Both sides deserve to be heard. It's up to the voters of Alabama to decide whether they think Roy Moore is more credible than his accusers and decide Doug Jones is too liberal for the state. And it's a tragedy people are weighing these things in their mind. That is the situation we're in, and that is what the voters of Alabama are going to have to wrestle with.
CUOMO: Joe Pollack, I appreciate you being on the show. Thank you for taking the opportunity. Good thanksgiving to you and your family.
All right, we have to change gears here. We have some sad breaking news for you tonight. The death of '70s teen idol David Cassidy. The singer died today after he was hospitalized last week in Florida. He was dealing with liver and kidney failure. He was only 67 years old. Now, the name just looms so large in our culture. If you were a kid back in the '70s, you cannot know who he was. And his beautiful voice. The ABC sitcom ran for four years. Cassidy later launched a solo career and continued to work in TV. This year he revealed that he was in the early stages of dementia. And we're going to tell you that part of his story and the kind of full feel of the life of David Cassidy a little bit later in the hour.
[22:21:43] CUOMO: Majority leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP establishment have made it very clear that they don't want Roy Moore in the senate. But it is entirely possible, in fact, there's a high degree of probability that Moore will win the election. And just now three weeks away, by the way. Especially in the wake of we're talking about this of what just happened with President Trump which was all but endorsement today. The governor, however, is saying that she has no reason to disbelieve the accusers, but she wants a Republican in that seat. I mention the governor, because she has the most control here. This is state special election. So what will happen if Moore stays in the race, which seems likely and he wins? Let's discuss. CNN's senior political commentator Rick Santorum, of course a former Senator and Presidential candidate. The best for thanksgiving if I don't get to speak to you between now and then, to you and your family, God bless. Good to have you. So, if he wins, do you think that McConnell makes a move on him, or is it just the practicality of math, the people have spoken, and on we go?
RICK SANTORUM, SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I think it's going to be very difficult for any United States Senator to allow him to stay in the senate without some sort of investigation. I think there will be an investigation. And if these claims are proven to be credible, I think it'll be very difficult for any Republican Senator particularly those up for re-election to not vote to expel him.
SANTORUM: Yes. I think if Roy Moore gets elected, I think there's a very high chance he'd be excelled from the United States Senate. There's an issue of charges and just the brass politics of it that which is, you know in this environment, again, where sexual harassment and the charges even worse made against Roy Moore with minors, for a man or woman to stand for election in 2018 and to allow someone with these allegations, if they check out -- and again, there will be an investigation by the senate. I think it's an unattainable position for most Senators to be in. CUOMO: What about the president just did? You just heard the
President say he denies it, and this guy, Jones, I don't like him and let the people decide. What if they take that posture?
SANTORUM: I don't think that most Senators behaves like our President, though. I'm just telling you how I think most Republican Senators, particularly, again, those up for re-election and there's enough with the Democrats voting to take him out that, you know, the people of Alabama may think about a lot of things when it comes to this election. But I think the one thing they need to put in the back of their heads is if Roy Moore is elected, you may have trouble voting for someone like that. But I think there's a pretty good chance if he is elected, he is not going to be in the senate.
CUOMO: What is your position on the allegations against Roy Moore?
SANTORUM: I vote on the position when faced with a serious allegation like this, if you're someone that truly believes in the things that Roy Moore has espouse, you don't stay in the race.
[22:25:00] We do have Supreme Court Justices that are important, we do have tax bill and health care, a bunch of other things that are important for this country. We have a very narrow majority United States senate and you put the country and the things you think are best for the country above your own personal politics. Now this could all be fabrication, this could be all a horrible lie. But the fact of the matter is these are all credible claims, you don't have the opportunity to really prosecute them. And the best thing to do, what I would have done in that situation whether I was guilty or not, look at the best interest of the country and the cost and step down. Have your opportunity, but let's put the country first. And I think that is what we're see not seeing here.
CUOMO: It's interesting because such a converse of a point being made in favor of Roy Moore, which by the way he believes in Trump agenda. He wants to help Trump. Maybe so, but you're saying once he gets there, he will be tossed out and he is not going to help the agenda.
SANTORUM: If you really want to help Trump agenda, you put someone, you know several congressman, you got -- there's a whole bunch of folks in Alabama who can step in that race even as late as today and win this race in a run at write in. Doug Jones, he is not a popular guy. He is very liberal for Alabama. He doesn't fit Alabama. To me it's about -- I've run my political career I care more about the cause and more about the country than about your own political career. That necessarily ends in a right place all the time in elections, but if you stand truth to what you believe in.
CUOMO: What would you do if you were a registered Republican, who would you vote for?
SANTORUM: From what you just heard me say, I think the chances of Roy Moore serving in the United States senate are very slim.
CUOMO: So would you stay with Roy Moore or go for Democrat? SANTORUM: I would do, you criticized the previous guest for this, but
I really think it's a very valid comparison. That is what happened to Mel Carnahan. You had a dead man on the ballot. Someone who wouldn't be able to serve, but you knew the governor would appoint somebody and fill out that term. I think we are in a sense you have that same situation here. I think the chance of Roy Moore actually serving his term out of the United States senate given what's going on right now is very slim. So you vote for someone that can replace him. And by voting for Roy Moore, you're really voting for a replacement in the end.
CUOMO: I was just pushing back on the idea of a stunt versus this is a real referendum on where we are in terms of believing victims. Rick your points are well-made and appreciated. Thank you for being on the show.
SANTORUM: Thank you.
CUOMO: So we're going to take a break. Jim Acosta has some reporting. The President, in fact, according to a source close to the situation, has not been believing the accusations for days. He believes what's going on with Roy Moore is like what happened with him. Let's get that into the mix when we come back. When we discuss why the President chooses to believe some women who accuse men of power and not others. Ok? When we come back.
[22:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, HOST, CNN: All right, it took seven days, but the president has done it. He is now embracing Roy Moore and his Senate campaign outwardly. He said today, quote, "All I can say is he denies them," talking about Moore. And he totally denies them.
Of course this is all about the allegations of women and what they have said about Roy Moore and his past. Now, he could say much more. He says all I can say is. The president can say a lot more here. Members of his own party have said much more about the allegations.
Several women have lodged serious allegations against Moore. The Washington Post and other outlets have had dozens of corroborators of their story. So why isn't the president saying more? It's not because he doesn't, you know, like to get out there too much. He likes to weigh in on situations. Look at Senator Franken.
So let's discuss the president's selective outrage on this. I want to bring in CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod and political analyst Kirsten Powers.
It's good to have you both. So what have we learned from Jim Acosta? Jim Acosta has a source close to the situation telling him that the president has been looking down on these accusers and accusations for some days now. That he believes what's happening to Roy Moore is what was done to him during the campaign and that is given on the confidence acts to come forward. What do you make of the move?
DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Look, I think the president's waited seven days to assess what Roy Moore's political status is. And I think he made a judgment that Roy Moore could win this race. And he's decided that he's going to help him do that.
I don't think the president has -- you know, I don't think he was weighing the moral implications of all of this. And yes, he did attack Al Franken, and the White House said, well, Al Franken admitted what he has done.
So, the standard that's been setup if you acknowledge your wrongdoing, you'll get criticized. But all you have to do is deny it and the president's willing to believe you over your accusers, it's not a great standard.
CUOMO: Kirsten, what do you think?
KIRSTEN POWERS, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Yes, and also it's not the standard that, you know, the members of Congress who have pulled their endorsements of him, you know, who were very much behind him and clearly think that these are credible accusations.
So I don't think this is necessarily something that is just democrats are saying Roy Moore has done something bad, you had Rick Santorum on here saying that he doesn't think that if he gets elected that he'll survive, you know, being in the Senate.
[22:35:02] So, you know, I think that Donald Trump probably think that he got on the wrong side in the first place with Roy Moore. He didn't endorse him and he endorsed an establishment candidate, and he's trying to get on the right side. And I think, you know, it's true. He's not making any real serious moral calculus here. I don't think that's a real big surprise.
CUOMO: All right. Let's do one micro and one macro point. The micro is the process. So, Axe, if we follow Rick Santorum and other people have made this, that, hey, if you're going to vote for Roy Moore, he may not be in there very long.
All right. So they have their investigation, they move on him. They actually get a vote where they can excel him, which is a high threshold, they need super majority, but they do it. Let's say they do it. Two thirds vote.
Then the governor would get to appoint someone. So the micro question is, why can't they get the governor to do anything now? Kay Ivey, female governor says she has no reason to disbelieve the accusers but she wants a republican in that seat. Why won't she make a move on Moore?
AXELROD: She won't make a move on Moore because Moore has a very rabid and committed base within the Republican Party in Alabama and she doesn't want to antagonize that base.
Look, I found, you know, I like Rick, and I enjoy spending time with him and talking with him. I thought his answer was kind of peculiar. Basically he's trying to setup a situation where you can vote for Moore even though you had pour what he's done because it's a safe thing because the Senate will then throw him out so you don't have to feel responsible for putting Roy Moore in the Senate.
There's no guarantee that the Senate is going to throw Roy Moore out. And I think that's a way of making voters more comfortable in casting a vote for Moore.
CUOMO: Hey, let me play you something first. Because, you know, we say that while the president's ignoring the morality of the -- he knows that we're in a moment of culture change right now. He knows it. He said it today.
Let's play some of the sound where the president is talking about why he thinks that the revelation about the conduct that needs to be stopped is good for women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what is your message to women? This is a pivotal moment in our nation's history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Women are very special. I think it's a very special time because a lot of things are coming out. And I think that's good for our society, and I think it's very, very good for women. And I'm very happy a lot of these things are coming out. And I'm very happy -- I'm very happy it's being exposed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: How does that idea live in the same head with - I'm going to back Moore, he denies it, and you know, these women they don't always tell the truth? How those two ideas live in the same head?
POWERS: It doesn't. And also even just listen to what he was saying. Special, I mean, it's not a special time. This is a harrowing time for women. And I think it's a good thing that this is happening and that there's a reckoning.
But special is strange way to describe what's going on. And look, I interviewed him during the campaign about he was standing by Roger Ailes when Roger Ailes was under, you know, similar accusations, and I said what would happen if this happened to your daughter, and he said, well, I guess, you know, she would just have to find another job or another career. And he was just very dismissive.
And I don't believe that he has changed in some radical way. To me that was just his sort of talking points for today, I guess. But his behavior on a regular basis suggests something completely different. And he's very dismissive of the idea of women being sexually harassed. And I don't think he has a lot of sympathy. I mean, I just -- I just haven't seen it, and I had a very long conversation with him about it.
CUOMO: Unless he doesn't like the guy who's accused and then he jumps on it right away as we saw with Al Franken. (CROSSTALK)
POWERS: Well, then he uses a photo to score political points, right.
CUOMO: So, he's not -- he's not alone in this assessment either. Kirsten, you get the last word. But Axe, you get the plug. This Saturday David Axelrod is going to interview Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. He said some pretty interesting things to say about the feud between President Trump and LaVar Ball. The man whom you saw on this show last night.
My mind is still echoing with him saying thank you, thank you. Don't miss the Axe Files, Saturday night at 7 Eastern.
All right. Let's take a quick break.
When we come back, the Trump administration says that they're going to end residency protections for Haitians who live in the United States. This could force tens of thousands of people to leave the country. People with jobs, with kids who were born here.
The administration says the program was always meant to be temporary. But critics are pouncing. Let's get after the question of whether this is the right thing to do. Next.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: All right, a big policy move is underway. The Trump administration making a move that's likely to have a negative impact on thousands of Haitian immigrants in the U.S.
Here to discuss CNN commentator Jason Miller, a former senior communications advisor for the Trump campaign, and political commentator Symone Sanders, former press secretary for Bernie Sanders. Good to have you both here. If I don't speak to you again, happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for both of you.
SYMONE SANDERS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Happy Thanksgiving to you, Chris.
CUOMO: So Jason, temporary, yes. But it is not been practiced that way by consecutive administrations. The idea that it's OK to go back to Haiti is an absurd premise based on what's going on there, but that's what the U.S. government is saying. It's OK to go back now. Is this the right move?
JASON MILLER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, Chris, I think we're seeing a bit of selective outrage here when this is something that we're already seeing the temporary protective status revoked for folks who come from say, Bosnia, from El Salvador in the past. We're going to see it from Honduras and also from people we heard from Sudan.
But I think we're kind of missing the big picture here. That the U.S. is the most caring, the most giving country on the entire planet. You think of just last we let in 85,000 refugees. We paid for 22 percent of the U.N.'s budget. [22:44:57] But at a certain point we can't take care of everybody on
the planet. And so, the fact that we have 59,000 Haitians who are here in the country, brought them here after 2010, after the horrific earthquake and then the mudslides that killed tens thousands of people.
They were brought here under temporary protective status. They weren't given permanent citizenship. And so at certain point we can't just continue to cover these folks forever. I mean and I think that's part of the thing that the president is doing is saying, OK, we got to put America first. We want to caring, want to be giving and help people.
CUOMO: All right.
MILLER: But it can't go on in perpetuity.
CUOMO: All right. Symone, it comes down to one word, temporary. What's your take?
SANDERS: My take is that Haitians just have not started coming to the United States since 2010. There have been Haitians who have made America their home since the 1960s. So this is a practice that has happened well over a number of administrations, both republicans and democratic.
So I think what's really problematic here is, one, a lot of these folks are Haitian Americans. Their children, all they know is America. So I think and they're contributing, you know, tax paying citizens of the United States of America. So that's the first thing.
The second thing is Donald Trump went to Miami during the campaign during the general election and he spoke to the little Haiti cultural center. And he told them he wanted them to -- he wanted to be a champion for their community. He said whether you vote for me or not, I want to be a champion, give me a chance to be your ally.
And he made a promise to that community. And today we see that Donald Trump and his administration have not kept their promise to the Haitian people.
CUOMO: You have a political issue which is it looks like you're playing us and them. And these are the others. Now it's the Haitians. Maybe the Nicaraguans will feel who else gets thrown in that bucket.
The practical problem is how do you get them out? What do you do here? You know, you have thousands and thousands of people, kids who were born here, what do you do with those kids? How do we are going to round them up? And we're back to the practicality, the second line problem.
I get why the first line is a good sell to the base. I'm going to be tough, we're going to crackdown on immigration. We've got too many people here who don't belong. But how are you going to do it?
MILLER: Well, I think one thing you keep in mind with this 59,000 Haitians who are here. Sixteen thousand have already applied for and received some type of permanent status. And so there re -- there is a big group of folks who will be staying here.
And I think in a very humane way, the way that the homeland security laid this out, there is an 18 months period. And so I think one of the things, Chris, you're talking about still yes, obviously Haiti still has a number of challenges. But when you're talking about those folks who are living in those emergency camps in Haiti, you know, 90 percent of those people have already either gone home or gone on to new homes. So it's even proved markedly, I mean, they have a -- it's gotten a lot better, Chris...
CUOMO: Jason, they've got tens of thousands of people in Haiti...
SANDERS: No. Wait, wait, wait. Haiti have not gotten better.
CUOMO: They're saying they can't stay in Haiti because conditions are so terrible.
SANDERS: Haiti has been devastated...
CUOMO: Go ahead, Symone. You make a point.
SANDERS: Haiti has still been devastated from hurricane Matthew. There was recently a cholera outbreak and there's political instability. There is nothing OK about kicking, because that's what happening. Kicking thousands of Haitians, a lot of them Haitian- American out of the United States of America and sending them back to those type of circumstances. My question...
CUOMO: So then what are you supposed to do, Symone? What's the answer? It is a temporary program, so what do you do?
SANDERS: Well, I think we have to reevaluate it, but the answer is not kicking folks out. What happened specifically this week except for a deadline of January 22, 2018, that made the administration say look, these Haitians have to go? Why do the Haitians have to leave? I think there is definitely like something to be said about the fact that the Trump administration seems to be targeting people of color.
MILLER: But Symone, where's the outrage over folks who have to go back to Honduras, who have to go back to Sudan? I mean, at a certain point...
SANDERS: There was outrage over the Muslim ban. I mean, look...
MILLER: ... the U.S...
SANDERS: ... but what did the Haitians do? Can you -- if you can just explain to me what specifically has happened that it is urgent that thousands and thousands of Haitians, a lot of them Haitian Americans now have to be excelled from the United States of America? (CROSSTALK)
CUOMO: I'm going to take it. I'm going to take because it's Thanksgiving I do you a favor. You know what happened, Symone? An election, and a man who won for president by saying I'm going to change how we do immigration. This is something that he can actually do to show how he can act on that promise.
Whether it's the right thing to do, we'll see. And then you know who see hands it really falls into is Congress. Just like DACA they're going to have to figure out if they're going to do something to help these people.
Again, there's more pressure on them. Jason, Symone, the best to both of you. Thank you for your ideas here on the show tonight.
All right. We're going to take a break. When we come back, this breaking news of the saddest kind. David Cassidy is gone at the age of just 67. What a life, what an influence. We have the story of what he meant to so many, next.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: Before we leave you tonight we do have some sad news, for people of a certain age the name David Cassidy conjures up a very specific image, it's the 1970s, he's a pop star and teen idol and lead singer on a hit TV show the Partridge Family.
Cassidy was such a big deal in American pop culture in those years, often gracing the cover of teen magazines, sometimes all of them. Tonight, the news that he has died of an organ failure at 67.
CNN's Stephanie Elam looks back at David Cassidy's incredible career.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: David Cassidy was the ultimate teenage idol, known for his role as Keith in the Partridge Family. Cassidy's fresh face wide eyed charm captured the hearts of millions of girls worldwide.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're taking auto shop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: The Partridge Family, a musical sitcom about a family in a rock and roll band gave Cassidy a national audience for his own music.
"I think I love You" the show's first single top the billboard 100 in 1970 and sold over five million copies.
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DAVID CASSIDY, SINGER & SONGWRITER: I was always a musician, I was played but I never pursued my career as a musician. It was just fate, you know, the way the stars aligned themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:54:59] ELAM: Cassidy's whisky voice and wholesome persona broke out from the small screen and into sold out arenas around the globe. His fan club at one time reportedly had more members than Elvis or the Beatles.
But in 1972, at the height of this6 Partridge Family Cassidy's began to shift away from his squeaky clean image. He appeared naked on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and in the article admitted to using drugs and alcohol. It marked a turning point in his career and his life. Four years after the Partridge Family hit the air his teenage fan base had moved on, and so had Cassidy.
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CASSIDY: This hero worship was so great I had to leave it. I couldn't sustain it any longer.
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ELAM: Superstardom long behind him Cassidy turned to Broadway. In 1993, he starred in the British musical Blood Brothers. Three years later he moved to Vegas where he headlines the MGM Grand EFX show, at that time the largest theatrical production in the world.
In private, though, Cassidy struggled with alcoholism, a battle that would soon take a very public turn. In his 60s Cassidy faced multiple charges of driving under the influence and went through rehab.
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CASSIDY: It's very humbling and it's also humiliating.
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ELAM: But his biggest battle was yet to come. In 2017, Cassidy revealed that he suffered from dementia. His mother had died of complications from Alzheimer's disease only a few years before.
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CASSIDY: To watch someone that raised you and so vibrant start to lose -- lose their mind and disappear is arguably the most painful thing I've ever experienced.
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ELAM: Looking back on his own life there is one memory Cassidy hopes will never fade, his 1972 concert in Madison Square Garden. Cassidy leaped on to the stage in his signature white sequined jumpsuit, thousands of adoring fans screamed his name, his own family among them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CASSIDY: It was so emotional for me. And I just felt so blessed to have that moment with them. I mean, it's the highlight of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)