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Trump Claims Not Racist; Trump's Sentiment about Immigrants; Siblings Held Captive by Parents; Deal on Spending. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 16, 2018 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:36] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, President Trump says he is not a racist. In fact, he says that a lot, often after he has said something that has made people feel that he was using racist language. This time it was a vulgar word used to describe immigrants. But, more importantly, it was a preference that seemed to be expressed by the president for people from Norway as opposed to people from Africa and South Central America.

So, we spoke to Martin Luther King Jr.'s son, Martin Luther King III. Here's what he told me light night about an approach to the president.


MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: I think those comments are extremely racist comments. And I think that the president has got to be engaged in some sensitivity and heart changing. And when I say heart, we got to appeal to his heart because there's something wrong, it seems to me, when you make comments that way.


CUOMO: All right, let's use that as a starting off point for a good discussion/debate. We've got CNN political commentator Ana Navarro and editor of "The National Review," Rick Lowry.

Ana, the idea of appealing to the president's heart, that that may create some headway on what to do with DACA and the dreamers, yes?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Been there, done that. You know, we saw that last week when we saw him --

CUOMO: Thank you for raining on hope in your first answer.

NAVARRO: Well --

CUOMO: Go ahead.

NAVARRO: Well, you know, didn't we see it last week when he was -- when he started talking about a bill of love, bring me anything, bring me something and I will sign it. And then, two days later, everything had gone to hell in a hand basket because he had put it there, because he blew everything up because of his comments, because of his racism. Here's the problem. I think most Americans understand that it's very

hard to change a 71-year-old man's heart and brain. You know, he is wired to do this. We've just seen so many different instances that we all remember from Donald Trump, whether it's the comments against the judge, the Mexican-American judge, whether it's the comments against the Khans, whether it's the comment about my African-American there, you know, his comments after Charlottesville. I mean we could -- you know, I could spend ten minutes going through comments that he has said that have reinforced this perception by so many Americans that he is a racist. So if he wants to counter that perception, if he wants to counter that belief, forget about appealing to his heart, he needs to take action. He should call the same senators who were in that room last week back into that room and say, let's work out a deal. Let's figure out what we have to do to move this ball forward.

Donald Trump could have the opportunity of, you know, standing there at the State of the Union and actually touting the accomplishment of immigration reform. Something that completely eluded Barack Obama, completely alluded George W. Bush, despite them wanting to do it, them trying to do it. He could actually do it, but it's got to start from him. He has got to lead.

CUOMO: Rich, do you think the president has it in his heart to help the dreamers?

RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": I think he wants a deal and I think there's a deal to be had. I think it's unlikely to happen, though, because, one, Democrats would really have to give something to him that he could call a wall. I don't think Democrats are in a mood to do that, especially not now. They consider the wall a symbol of hate.

But I'd be happy to trade, not just a DACA amnesty, but a wider one for all the dreamer population, just for an e-verify system that made it much more difficult for employers to hire illegal labor. So you can do different permutations of what the deal would be. But the fact is, this deal last what -- last week from a restrictionist perspective had nothing. It was a deal among six senators who all had the same view of the immigration issue and had nothing for someone that has Trump's view on it.

[08:35:13] CUOMO: What happened to the, bring me something, I'll sign it. Durbin and Graham, bipartisan --


CUOMO: Come two days later and nothing.

LOWRY: Never should have said it. And, you know, this is one of the problems with this president, he's erratic and he's all over the map and he doesn't necessarily know if his brief on policy, especially on immigration policy. So he'll say things that he doesn't really mean or that he shouldn't mean or that when actually people explain to him the implications, he backs off of them. And that's what happened in that meeting Thursday.

CUOMO: So, Ana, for Rich it's a --

NAVARRO: I actually think Rich is wrong on that, though --

CUOMO: Go ahead.

NAVARRO: Because I do think that the -- that the Democrats and the Republicans in that room were doing something on the wall, were doing something on border security. And understand that it's got to be a part of it.

Look, Democrats who actually want to get DACA done, and Republicans who want to get DACA done, understand that needs to be a part of it and also understand that when it comes to Donald Trump, you really shouldn't bluff. You know, maybe Barack Obama, maybe George W. Bush was never going to deport 800,000 DACA kids and dreamers. We are seeing this government, this administration, deport people who have lived here for 30 years who have U.S. children --

CUOMO: Saw it yesterday morning.

NAVARRO: Who have U.S. spouses.

CUOMO: Jorge Garcia (ph).

NAVARRO: We saw it and we're going to continue seeing it.

CUOMO: People should Google it.

NAVARRO: We are going to -- we saw it in Detroit yesterday. A 39-year- old man who came here as a 10-year-old.

CUOMO: Well, but here's the rub, though, Ana --

NAVARRO: And it's going to be a scene that replays over and over again in America --

CUOMO: Look, we're hearing the stories, one after the other --

NAVARRO: If this issue does not get fixed.

CUOMO: So that's why the hard issue comes up.

NAVARRO: So I think people understand, no more posturing.

CUOMO: Right. But so that's why the heart comes up. And the reason I asked you is, he has spoken on this before. The president was quoted by a judge in that California case about extending the ability to file for renewal in DACA. And he quoted one of the president's tweets. The president had tweeted, does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really? That's Donald Trump, too. Where is that Donald Trump in this negotiation when he got offered that bipartisan plan by Durbin and Graham? Graham, his golf buddy.

LOWRY: Well, again, I just don't think there was anything really for him in that plan. CUOMO: Helping the DACA people, which he just -- he tweeted.

LOWRY: Well -- right. I mean sometimes he says that, but he also wants something from it. He's not going to trade an amnesty for nothing. And the problem with amnesty is obviously this DACA population very sympathetic. The problem is, if you do an amnesty bill, it sends a message, you know what, we're not serious about our laws and the history is you attract the next wave of illegal immigrants. And we have illegal immigrants in this country, it's going to create these agonizing situations where people come here, they're defying our laws but they begin to build a life for themselves and then what do you do?

And we're going to see these kinds of cases repeated over and over again and it's a consequence of bad decisions I believe over years and years and years where you haven't taken these laws seriously. So I want a serious enforcement system that would make sure we're not going to have another wave of illegal immigrants and then I'd be willing to talk of broader amnesty.

CUOMO: Ana --

NAVARRO: There were two things for Donald Trump in the deal last week. One was, there was something like $1 billion or $2 billion for the wall. Donald Trump himself said, I don't need $18 billion for a wall. I can build it cheaper. I can build it prettier. I can build it stronger. I can build it better. And I can build it quicker.

And he has also figured out that the border doesn't need 2,200 miles of wall, that there's rivers, that there's mountains, that there's fencing, that there's electronic drones and things that can do border security. And so that -- you know, the actual size of the wall that needs to be done is much smaller. That was in that bill.

The other thing that was in that bill for Donald Trump was getting rid of the visa lottery, which he hates, right? He thinks that it's like this big bowl where you put in the names of bad hombres and bad muharas and, you know, some big hairy hand comes down and picks out balls (ph) with names and things like that.

That's not how the visa lottery works. People are vetted. It is good people who come here. But that proposal last week got rid of the visa lottery and instead was going to put in the TPS, the people covered by TPS who are already in the system and who are already part of this country and of this community and contributing and are the kind of people that make America great already. They've been here for over two decades.

LOWRY: Ana, just with respect, the border funding, it was not clear it was for the wall. And it's a little hard to tell in the details, because the thing wasn't actually written down, and it didn't eliminate the visa lottery, it repurposed it to TPS folks and to people from other countries, which created this controversy over the comments, did really nothing on chain migration and did a broader amnesty than just the DACA folks. So, of course that's a bad deal. Of course that's a deal that John Kelly, who's very serious about enforcement, is going to tell the president to reject. And he was right to reject it.

CUOMO: So he should have never made that promise?

NAVARRO: But their --

LOWRY: He never should have said, I'm just going to sign anything. That was irresponsible and I knew --

CUOMO: That you guys agree on.

LOWRY: Right. And I --

CUOMO: (INAUDIBLE) brought a bipartisan (INAUDIBLE).

LOWRY: And I knew they were going to walk him back on that. It was just obvious as soon as he said it. It was making a rhetorical check that he was never going to cash.

[08:40:06] CUOMO: All right, Nick, Ana, appreciate the reasoned debate on this issue.

LOWRY: Rich. Rich.

CUOMO: What did I say?

LOWRY: Nick.

CUOMO: Oh, no. Well, do you know him? (INAUDIBLE). I am. I'm sorry.

LOWRY: No offense. OK. You're a hard working guy. You're up day and night.

CUOMO: I'm sorry. I don't sleep. I don't sleep. Don't make me apologize on Twitter (ph). And we'll have you back soon.

LOWRY: Thank you.

CUOMO: Francine, good to have you, as well. Appreciate it, as always.

We're going to talk more about this tonight.

Ana's taking off her mic.

On "Cuomo Primetime."

LOWRY: You've still got some game in you.

CUOMO: We're going to have Congressman Chris Collins on tonight. And that is his name. I know him well. He's from upstate New York. And we're going to talk about, you know, what Mr. Lowry is discussing here. What do Republicans have to have in their deal to get this done? What do the Democrats need? We'll take that on as well.

CAMEROTA: It's amazing you remember that guy's name on the screen with how little you're sleeping at the moment.

CUOMO: I know. I don't even know who that is anymore.

CAMEROTA: I know. I understand. I get it.

All right, so you have to listen to this story. There are these allegations of torture and abuse. This California couple has been arrested after police say they held their 13 children captive. Some of these kids were found shackled to their beds. We have a live report on what was going on inside their, next.


[08:45:11] CAMEROTA: A California couple is in custody, charged with holding their own children captive. Police say some of the 13 victims were shackled to beds with chains and padlocks in dark, filthy conditions.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in Perris, California, with more.

What was going on inside there, Stephanie?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a shocking and bizarre story, Alisyn. What we are learning is that early Sunday morning a 17 year old was able to escape from the home with what police are calling a cellular device and was able to call 911. And she said that she and her 12 siblings were being held captive by their parents. When police responded, that's when they found the rest of the children here.

And here's the thing, they were so emaciated and malnourished that actually the 17 year old police thought that she was about 10 years old. It turns out that about seven of these children -- or seven of these children are actually adults. All of the children have been taken to area hospitals so that they can get treatment. They said that there was starvation involved, as well.

As we learn more about this couple, David and Louise Turpin, we understand that they have now been held. They are looking at bail of $9 million each. We also know that they are facing these charges of torture and also child endangerment. And this is something that we're looking to find out more when we have a press conference later on today to find out if there's any more reason why this was happening and how long they had been living like this, Chris.

CUOMO: Wow. I mean it just smacks so much of the Jaycee Dugard situation and these other stories that we learned about the one in Ohio where people are held by people who are supposed to love and be taking care of them. Not in Jaycee Dugard's case. But all of these kids up to age 29 and then one of them finally makes a phone call. There's going to be so much more to learn. Thank you for being there, my friend.

So, when we talk about DACA and we talk about dreamers, it's not just about statistics and policy. Hundreds of thousands of lives are going to hang in the balance as Congress debates the future of dreamers. Where do the negotiations stand? Let's give you "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:51:22] CUOMO: All right, the federal government could shut down by the end of the week. If it does, a big reason is going to be the breakdown of negotiations over the fate of dreamers, because they're tied together. While they're not related budgetarily, the political leverage is making it this way. The question then becomes, will Congress strike a deal on spending and immigration to avoid a shutdown or will they be split off? Will there be a future promise? Will there be nothing?

Let's get "The Bottom Line" from CNN political director David Chalian.

Let's start off easy. Will there be a government shutdown?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: That's starting off easy, Chris?



I don't know, but I will tell you, it is a more real possibility today than in has been in the last month, as you noted, because the negotiations have broken down. You said the two are not tied together budgetarily, DACA, solving the dreamers problem, and funding the government, which is correct. But the Democrats see this as their biggest opportunity with leverage because here is the simple math.

Republicans, though they control both chambers of Congress, cannot fund the government without Democratic votes. Now, maybe Paul Ryan could do it in the House without Democratic votes. We'll see. That's not a certain thing. But it is certain that it cannot -- the government cannot be funded and open without the votes of Democrats in the United States Senate.

And not just a couple Democrats. Mitch McConnell is going to need, in a 51-49 Senate, nine Democrats to get to 60. If John McCain is not able to get back and vote, he'll need ten Democrats to get on board to keep the government funded.

CAMEROTA: So, David, we just had Senator Hirono from Hawaii on, a Democrat --


CAMEROTA: And she sounded quite confident, actually adamant, that this is not Democrats' fault and that Democrats would not be held responsible by the American people. Should she have such confidence in that, if the government were to shut down?

CHALIAN: Right. And I think what -- the phase that we're in right now, Alisyn, is sort of the pre-blame game, right? So you have Mazie Hirono on the Democratic side laying the groundwork. It's all about the president. You'll notice, she refused to just declare that no matter what, at all costs, she would not say to you, I am not going to fund the government if there's no DACA deal. She just kept saying, the president. It's on the president.

On another network this morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders talking and blaming it all on the Democrats. That there's a deal to be had and they're not coming to the table. They know what Graham and Durbin brought into the Oval Office last week is a non- starter and this will be the Democrats' fault.

So what you have now is a pre-blame game. Both sides will try to shape the narrative as you hope somebody can get in a room and cooler heads can prevail and the government could actually get funded.

But I will tell you this, this is the conundrum that Democrats find themselves in, guys. The base of the Democratic Party, where all the energy is, everything that has happened in the last year in responding to Donald Trump at the voting booth in Virginia and New Jersey, Alabama, the base is demanding that Democrats put a stake in the ground now. This is the most leverage you have, they're saying to their leaders, do not fund the government without a DACA deal.

The problem is, there are some Democrats running in very red states where Donald Trump won by double digits. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, John Tester in Montana, Joe Manchin in West Virginia. There are -- so they can't just be concerned about the base because to get re-elected and keep their jobs, they also have to reach out to independents and Republicans, yet they need the Democratic base, the energy in the base. So everybody's caught right now on the Democratic side about whether or not to make this sort of the hill to die (ph) and risk potential backlash for shutting down the government, even though I will say, I don't think that's a certain thing. When you're a Republican who controls the Oval Office -- a party that controls the Oval Office and both chambers of Congress, if the government shuts down, you're likely to get some blame.

[08:55:02] CUOMO: Isn't it a simple calculus of what's going to matter more to people? If there is a shutdown, probably never that long, or not doing the right thing by the dreamers? What has more political currency?

CHALIAN: Well, according to all the polling on the dreamers, there is bipartisan support for the dreamers. So it would seem that just on that alone that the Democrats have a strong position here to fight for the dreamers at this time.

But you and I both know, Chris, that this won't just get portrayed that way, right? This will get portrayed, as Tom Cotton I believe is already out there sort of describing it, as, you know, amnesty. They're shutting the government down over just blanket amnesty. And so there is potential political power (ph) in the way it gets messaged.

CUOMO: I have the solution maybe in my hands to how they get something done, David Chalian.

CAMEROTA: This answers all problems.

CUOMO: You see what we have here.

CAMEROTA: This solves everything.

CUOMO: The president's favorite. What is this, Alisyn? Why do I have it?

CAMEROTA: Well, I think this is a bowl of fruit. That's how I think possibly President Trump sees it. These are his favorite, Starbursts. Obviously he likes the strawberry and the cherry ones. He likes (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: Kevin McCarthy, majority leader in the House, brought these to him. Maybe if somebody says something nice and sweet, one for you Jimmy. There you go.

CHALIAN: Exactly. Alisyn, you just made every child happy that you just called a bowl of Starbursts a bowl of fruit.

CUOMO: Only reds and pinks.

CHALIAN: So every child in America can eat this stuff.

CUOMO: Only reds and picks.

CAMEROTA: This is a food group to me.

CUOMO: And Norwegians.

CAMEROTA: This is a food group.

CHALIAN: I like the yellow ones, guys.

CAMEROTA: I do, too. I do, too. He's overlooking those.

OK, David Chalian, thank you very much for all of that.

CHALIAN: Take care.

CUOMO: CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman picks up after this very quick break.

CUOMO: One for you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. Breakfast.