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Democrats Blamed for DACA Failure; Unrest in Sacramento Continues; Teacher Rallies in Oklahoma and Kentucky; Police Video Released of Sterling Shooting; Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired April 2, 2018 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:00] REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: He's the one that put the border wall up as leverage on DACA. He said, you won't get DACA until the president gets his big, beautiful border wall. We actually offered a pile of money for the border wall and he turned it down. That was back in January.
So the facts are there. The reality is, it is a problem that was created by this president. It's a problem that he is using these DACA people as leverage to get his border wall. The fact of the matter is, his border wall doesn't make us more secure. It wastes a pile of money and now he wants to get -- take the money out of military. I mean this is crazy.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: But, wait, you're -- you said you offered money for the wall, but you're saying that it doesn't make the country any safer.
GARAMENDI: Well, that was the negotiation back that Senator Schumer offered a pile of money for the border wall in exchange for DACA and the president turned it down.
SCIUTTO: Would you be willing -- would you be willing to vote for something -- I know you're not a fan of the wall. Would you -- would you be willing to vote for more money for the wall to get through legislation protecting the 800,000 or so dreamers?
GARAMENDI: We've offered that. We said we would be willing to do that. Let's look at the details of the deal. What's he talking about here? But, really, if you want to protect all of this, you need a comprehensive immigration reform that actually was a bipartisan bill that was passed the Senate about five years ago, the House of Representatives, Speaker Boehner and the Republicans wouldn't even take it up for a hearing. So we've got ourselves a mess -- a real mess here. One that needs to be resolved. And to hold these students -- I mean, come on, give me a break, his tweet this morning, these people are coming across the border so they can be become DACA. Wait a minute, DACA, you had to be in here --
GARAMENDI: You had to be in the United States before 2007.
GARAMENDI: Give me a break, Mr. President. Could you at least be accurate?
SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this. There is -- I'm curious, as a Democrat, you know, whether you are concerned that the president's stances are working. CNN did a poll just a couple of months ago. The generic ballot in the 2018 race, Democrat versus Republican. Democrats had a 16-point lead. Now it's down to six points. That's about a third of the lead you had just a couple of months ago on, what are we, seven months out from the election. Are you concerned that rhetorically, politically, you're losing this battle with the president?
GARAMENDI: What I'm concerned about is what's happening to this nation. That's my concern. My concern is about these 700, 800, maybe more than a million young people that are trapped in this vice that the president has put them in.
I'm concerned about border security. I'm concerned about the Coast Guard being underfunded. The fact of the matter is, the Coast Guard confiscated 200 tons of contraband, heroin, and so forth. At the border they collected 20 tons. So if you want to go where the problem is, fund the Coast Guard. If you want to deal with these issue --
SCIUTTO: I'm just curious, though, congressman --
SCIUTTO: If you're concerned that you're going to -- you're going to lose the House based on where these poll trends -- polling trends are going?
GARAMENDI: The Democrats are concerned about public policy. We want a better way to deal with these issues. A better plan. We want a comprehensive immigration reform. We want a transportation infrastructure program that is actually funded, that doesn't reverse the burden and put it back on the small communities that couldn't even beginning to afford a sanitation system or a transportation system. We want to make sure that the military is not only well funded, but is able to operate smart and effectively around the world. We want a policy internationally that is effective, not the helter-skelter policy that we now see in Syria with this president.
Oh, we've won the war against ISIS. Yes, we've pushed them out, but we have not one the ideological war. And Syria's an unholy mess now with Iran and Russia and others involved. We want to have some rational policies. And we're going to continue to put those forward. As we do so, I think the public will look to the Democrats as a balance against in crazy president.
SCIUTTO: Well, congressman, let me ask you about an issue closer to home for you.
SCIUTTO: Sacramento, of course, in your district, the unrest there following the police shooting of Stephon Clark, particularly over the weekend. Do you see a way out for this?
GARAMENDI: It was a tragedy. An unnecessary shooting.
There is a way out. And just 20 miles to the west in Vackaville (ph), we have a new police chief that's been there for a couple of years. He's instituted very significant training procedures for his men and women on the force, as well as community policing. Crime is down. Shootings are down.
Sacramento has a very good city council, a good mayor who cares deeply about these things and I think out of this tragedy will come a much better police force in Sacramento with much better training and also much more community policing. All of those things are necessary.
[08:35:07] And do keep in mind that the president, in his budget, tried to remove, or significantly diminish, the cop's program which provides federal support to police agencies all around this country.
And so Sacramento will come out of this in a better situation. But it is tragic.
And one thing that I do not understand is why police shoot to kill. It doesn't seem to me to be necessary. And that's a training issue that I think has to be put into this whole mix.
SCIUTTO: Well, such --
GARAMENDI: So, yes, Sacramento is very, very seriously concerned about this. I understand why people are in the street, and rightfully so. Peacefully so --
SCIUTTO: And such a -- such a familiar tragedy, no question, for a number of communities around the country.
Congressman Garamendi, thanks very much for joining us this morning.
GARAMENDI: Thank you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, ending on that note, we also have the Alton Sterling coming up.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Yes.
CAMEROTA: The Baton Rouge case, where he was shot and killed.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Without any -- you know, the cop -- one police officer was fired, the other suspended, but no legal recourse.
CAMEROTA: No charges, yes.
SCIUTTO: That's the thing. So often administrative penalties, but not -- very rarely do the police end up in court. And there's reasons for that. There are a lot of protections.
AVLON: Yes. SCIUTTO: It's a tough job. It's a dangerous job.
AVLON: It is.
CAMEROTA: We'll get into all of that.
Meanwhile, thousands of teachers are expected to walkout today as they push for more pay and for better school funding. That's next.
[08:40:22] CAMEROTA: Tens of thousands of teachers converging on the state capitals in Oklahoma and Kentucky today. What do they want?
CNN's Bill Weir is live in Oklahoma City with more.
Bill, what's the scene?
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting, this is another red state teacher revolt spreading from West Virginia, Alisyn, here to Oklahoma. We're hearing rumbling in Kentucky and Arizona. Last week lawmakers do what they never do in Oklahoma, they raised taxes. The first time in nearly 30 years to give teachers a fraction of their demands. But they say it is not enough. It has been too long. The cuts have been too deep and they're tired of living like this.
DONNA ROSS (ph), TEACHER: Drum roll.
WEIR: For Donna Ross, the goal is to fill her classroom with such energy --
ROSS: Give them a high-five, one, two, three.
WEIR: That the kids never suspect that she works two other jobs to survive.
ROSS: So I've been up since 5:00 this morning.
WEIR: She drives for Uber and caters weddings because a master's degree and 20 years' experience barely brings a living wage in Oklahoma.
MICHAEL TURNER, SPECIAL ED TEACHER AND VETERAN: But you can see where my net pay was -- it was less than $1,200. I was being liberal. But --
WEIR (on camera): Wow, you're just over $1,000.
TURNER: Correct. And --
WEIR: And that's for --
TURNER: That's a -- that's one month.
WEIR: That's a month? WEIR (voice over): The most desperate sell blood. And some, like this former Marine and special ed teacher, rely on church soup kitchens to eat.
TURNER: So I've helped at food banks. I've helped deliver foods. I've helped do all those things. I honestly never thought I would be on the receiving end. I have to swallow my pride a lot and I hate asking for help.
WEIR: This state has long been the state with the deepest cuts to education.
CROWD: Fifty-five united.
WEIR: But something about the West Virginia strike helped turn Oklahoma anger to action.
ALBERTO MOREJON, EIGHTH GRADE TEACHER: I mean I got on FaceBook and I typed in like Oklahoma walkout, teacher walkout, and nothing popped up. And I was like, why not be the guy that makes a group. And now it has about 72,000 people.
WEIR (on camera): And it just started with you sending it to a couple teacher friends.
MOREJON: I sent it to a couple of teacher friends and they started inviting other teacher friends and the next thing you know, I mean, it just exploded.
MOREJON: So, I mean, you don't get -- you don't get 72,000 people in the group in three weeks if there's not a problem.
WEIR (voice over): Just the threat of a walkout was enough to force the first new taxes here in 28 years, enough to give teachers and average raise of about $6,000. But it is a fraction of their demand. So they're still walking. But for how long? And how will this affect Arizona, where teachers there are staging the next red state revolt?
WEIR (on camera): The difference between a strike and a walkout is you're not defying the school. The superintendent is behind you. But could it turn into a strike if things got nasty?
MOREJON: A lot of the superintendents say that they support teachers and they support what teachers want to do. So I feel like as long as teachers want to stay out to fight for what we're fighting for, I think there will be lots of support.
WEIR: Teachers are not the only frustrated public servants in Oklahoma. State troopers have to ration gasoline, prisons are overcrowded, social workers are strapped. But, at the same time, oil drillers and gas frackers enjoy the most generous, sweetheart subsidies of any state in the country.
JAMEE COMBS, MIDDLE SCHOOL COUNSELOR: At one point in time, our light bulbs were every other light bulb in the building.
WEIR (voice over): Meanwhile, in Inola (ph), classes are crowded, they're on a four day week, and the math teacher mows lawns.
TIM COMBS, MATH TEACHER: We do better at this than we do the -- at the -- at the school teaching as far as the money goes.
WEIR: Is that right?
T. COMBS: Yes.
WEIR: You make more cutting lawns?
T. COMBS: Yes.
WEIR: Do you service the lawns of your students?
J. COMBS: Yes. Several (INAUDIBLE).
T. COMBS: Yes, every now and then we will.
KIDS: I know that excellence (ph) is not an act (ph). It is a habit (ph). And way (ph) of life (ph).
WEIR (voice over): It's a similar reality for Ms. Ross, who would like to do more teaching than driving and was spotted waiting tables by one of her fourth graders, and was mortified.
ROSS: He just said that, Ms. Ross, you really work hard. You work a lot of places, don't you? He said, you must be rich. And I said, I sure am.
WEIR: She is rich in emotion. These teachers used to getting paid in hugs instead of dollars, and that's an advantage for the other side. They know that the longer this goes on, the more guilt there will be about the kids, their lunches, how are they eating. They've got recitals and concerts and testing and tournaments that all go with the end of the school year. And they want to go back to the well, pun intended, the oil well, that is oil frackers and drillers, they pay the lowest in any state in the union. Teachers want more, John. We'll see who wins this one.
AVLON: Powerful story. Thank you, Bill.
All right, right now thousands of kids are filling the South Lawn of the White House for the 140th Easter Egg Roll.
[08:45:06] We've got CNN's Kate Bennett live at the White House with the latest.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Hi, guys. That's right, we've got 30,000 people expected today. It is chilly out
here at the White House. Unfortunately, not quite the weather we were hoping for. People are bundled up. Kids are going through the Easter egg roll. They're hanging out at the reading nook where later we're going to see the president and the first lady. There are a bunch of activities here going on.
We are going to hear from President Trump and Melania Trump and the Easter bunny will be behind me on the Truman Balcony here around 10:30 this morning in just a little bit. This is Melania Trump's sort of first full time Easter egg roll now that she's living in the White House. Last year, remember, she wasn't living here full time. So this is very much her signature event.
The kids are here today. I've managed to get my hands on a special treat today. This is one of the golden wooden eggs. All the kids will get this in their gift bags as they leave today as part of their celebration at the 140th White House Easter Egg Roll.
Back to you guys.
SCIUTTO: Kate Bennett there.
From a happy moment there to really a difficult one. A tough one. Baton Rouge police releasing raw new body cam footage in the shooting death of Alton Sterling. That's him there. This after state officials decided not to charge either officer involved. Alton Sterling's aunt, she's going to join us live right after this.
[08:50:36] CAMEROTA: Two Baton Rouge police officers will not be charged in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling in 2016. On Friday, police released the body cam video from the officers that night. We want to warn you, the video is graphic. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, ma'am.
Can you -- put your hands on that car real quick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you talking (ph) about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands on the car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK, that is just a portion of the body cam footage of Police Officer Blane Salamoni, one of the two officers involved. He was fired. The other officer was suspended.
This is the first time since the shooting that members of Sterling's family were able to watch several of the graphic videos of that deadly confrontation.
Joining us now is Alton Sterling's aunt, Veda Washington Abusaleh.
Mrs. Abusaleh, thank you very much for being with us.
Had you seen that video before now?
VEDA WASHINGTON ABUSALEH, AUNT OF ALTON STERLING: I had not seen the video. I would see a video at 7:00 today with -- with one of our doctors.
CAMEROTA: Yes. So police release it --
ABUSALEH: I heard the video.
CAMEROTA: You've heard the video and do Alton's -- does your whole family want to see those videos?
ABUSALEH: The whole family has seen the videos, but I'm the only one I think that hasn't seen the video. My heart won't allow me to see the video without my doctor being there.
CAMEROTA: I'm so sorry to hear that and I can see how upset you are by all of this. What -- has hearing that the officers will not be charged, has that reopened the pain for you?
ABUSALEH: It has. I don't -- I don't understand how you can kill a man in cold blood and still have your job and still get our taxpayer dollars to take care of your family when you've destroyed mine. You -- he -- they destroyed our family.
CAMEROTA: Officer Salamoni was fired over this. Is that any comfort?
ABUSALEH: No, it's not. None at all. None at all. We -- my family wanted justice for them murdering Alton. The attorney general said that they find no fault. They didn't see anything that the police officers did wrong. So did the FBI. My family needs justice for what these two police officers did. They murdered Alton in cold blood. And we demand justice.
CAMEROTA: Here's what the feds say the reason they did not file the charges. Here's the graphic. The officers' actions were reasonable under the circumstances. It's not clear that Sterling was not reaching for a gun. Sterling continued to move after he was shot. There's not enough proof that the officers' acted intentionally.
What's your reaction?
ABUSALEH: I say that from the beginning of this it was already decided that they was not going to file any charges or do anything to these two police officers. And nothing is still being done to them. I don't -- I don't know what and why they can't see what the world see. CAMEROTA: Did Alton have a gun?
CAMEROTA: Because police say that they found a gun at the scene.
ABUSALEH: No. Alton didn't have a gun. Alton had a flip phone. That's what he had.
CAMEROTA: I mean when you watch the videos --
ABUSALEH: A government flip phone.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Because they say that they found a gun at the scene and what they -- I mean when you watch the videos, it does sound as though the officers escalated very quickly. Officer Salamoni shows up and within just seconds he's pulling his own gun and he's -- I mean based on the videos, obviously I wasn't there, but his voice escalates --
ABUSALEH: Yes. Salamoni already had his weapon drawn when he got out of the car. Salamoni came out to kill somebody. And that's exactly what he did. He came out with intentions to kill him, a black man, and that's what he did.
[08:55:02] CAMEROTA: Well, Veda Abusaleh, we can see how upset you are. We're very sorry for your family. We appreciate that this didn't end the way that you all wanted to in terms of charges being filed. We will check back.
ABUSALEH: It's still not over.
CAMEROTA: And what's the next move?
ABUSALEH: The next move is a nationwide boycott.
CAMEROTA: Of what?
ABUSALEH: And that's -- boycott the Mall of Louisiana, boycott everything, the gas pumps, boycott, because we're no longer the minority, we're the majority. If we take our dollars out, we're going to get some justice for Alton.
CAMEROTA: We'll be watching what happens there. Obviously we've seen the protests as well.
Veda Abusaleh, thank you very much for being on with us.
ABUSALEH: You're more than welcome. Thank you for having me.
CAMEROTA: Time now for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Ana Cabrera right after this break.
We'll see you tomorrow.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Ana Cabrera, in today for John and Poppy. Great to have you with us.
The president, who lashed out at immigrants, Democrats, Mexico and U.S. border laws on Easter morning is lashing out yet again at immigrants, Democrats, Mexico and U.S. border laws. Day two of a tweet storm that may have been triggered by Fox News coverage of an immigrant caravan in Mexico includes this, quote, DACA is dead because the Democrats didn't care to act and now everyone wants to get in on to the DACA bandwagon. No longer works. Must build wall and secure our borders with proper border legislation. Democrats want no borders, hence drugs and crime.