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New Sanctions on Russia; Troops to go to Border; March Jobs Report; Job Growth Slows; Pruitt Survive Scandals; Interview With Rep. Beto O'Rourke. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 6, 2018 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:32:41] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: We do have some breaking news to bring you right now.

The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions on Russian oligarchs and government officials in what could be the toughest penalty we have seen for Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. elections and more.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski is live in Washington with all of the breaking details.

What have you just learned, Michelle?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn.

Yes, we're just getting this from senior administration officials that they have now sanctioned seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies that they either own or control, and 17 senior government officials in Russia for various reasons. This is not just connected to U.S. election meddling, although the authority under which they impose these sanctions does include that. Thirty-eight total people and entities now sanctioned. So that means their assets in the U.S. will be blocked and U.S. people will be barred from doing business with them.

I think what really raises eyebrows, you know, we've known about this list of oligarchs the administration designated months ago. This was in January. They didn't impose sanctions then, although they did say they were coming. Today we are seeing those. So of the original list of more than 200 officials and billionaires and people connected to Putin that they designated, we're now seeing 38 of them actually sanctioned.

What we saw on the call, though, were -- these are high-ranking people. One of them, Oleg Deripaska. He is an aluminum magnate and a billionaire. He is connected to former Trump campaign chairman Manafort, Paul Manafort, and his partner, Rick Gates, both of whom were indicted in the Mueller probe looking into potential collusion of the Trump campaign with Russia. So the fact that he has been singled out and now sanctioned shows that, you know, we don't know the exact reason why he in particular would be, but administration officials listed, you know, the expanse, basically, of Russian activity in the world, including connections to Syria, including benefiting from corruption in Russia. A number of these people are also connected to high-level oil and gas companies there.

So this shows the administration is serious about targeting at least some of the people that are high ranking in Russia and some of the people that are connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

David.

[08:35:14] DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: Michelle Kosinski, thank you very much. The latest on this breaking news.

Let's get reaction to this with Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke of Texas. He's locked, as you know, in a fierce Senate race to oust Senator Ted Cruz.

Congressman, we heard earlier this week from outgoing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster that Russia, in his words, has suffered no cost for meddling in the 2016 election. Well, what about this?

REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D), TEXAS: You know, there has been any real deterrence provided by this administration or this country to stop Russia from continuing to meddle in our elections as we go into, in just a little more than seven months, another important national election in this country. We will be selecting our senators and our U.S. representatives in every state of the union.

So this is important. And I think these sanctions are a step in the right direction, but there has to be a lot more, and there has to be accountability for Russia's involvement in 2016, and we've got to stop them from getting involved in '18, '20 and those elections going forward.

GREGORY: Fair enough in terms of future deterrence. But I do think it's fair to point out that critics of the president say, oh, you know what, he doesn't take on Putin, he -- there's no cost for any of this. And now he levies very serious sanctions against people who are close to Putin, who are high-ranking businessmen in Russia after expelling Russian diplomats for the country. Does the administration not deserve credit for doing what critics like you and others have called on him to do?

O'ROURKE: Yes, David, so I was trying to make the point earlier that I think the administration is taking a step in the right direction. So let me reiterate that. But there's still so much to do. And we know from listening to the folks at the NSA and national security and federal law enforcement that this administration has not made deterring Russia from getting involved in the 2018 election a priority in this country.

So it looks like there's been some consequence from meddling in 2016. I think we need to do more to deter Russia from bad behavior in our election and other parts of the world going forward.

So, a step in the right direction. We need to see more going forward. GREGORY: All right, let's switch gears and talk about the border and

all the news this week. The president now talking about deploying somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 National Guard troops along the border with Mexico. He's not the only one to do that. President Obama did it. President Bush did it before him back in 2006. I've heard colleagues of yours from the delegation say this is a good idea. This is actually needed. Where do you come down?

O'ROURKE: Yes, David, so, in 2006, when George W. Bush deployed the National Guard, we had about 10,000 border patrol agents on the southwestern border. Today we have double that number. Apprehensions are at a record low. And the U.S.-Mexico border has never been more secure or more safe.

We should support the border patrol agents who are there on that border, make sure that they have the resources and the support and that we've got their back to do that important job. They are trained to patrol the border. The U.S. military are not. They are trained to go to war. And I want to make sure they have the best training to go to war when they do. And so let's make sure that those guards men and women are focused on their training and their readiness.

There's an opportunity cost if we send them to the border where we don't need them, where they're not trained to do that work, and where we can have some tragic consequences, as we did 20 years ago when a U.S. Marine shot a U.S. citizen, Ezekiel Hernandez (ph), 18-years-old, in Redford, Texas, because that Marine was deployed to the border to do a job for which he was not trained.

We can make the border safer. Part of that is making sure that we treat people with dignity and respect in border communities, when everyone feels safe reporting crimes or testifying or serving as witnesses in trials. Trying to scare this country about Mexico and Mexicans and our connection with the rest of the world is not a strategy. It, in fact, will make us less safe, not more safe.

GREGORY: All right, but you're talking about scare tactics. You're running in a race to oust Senator Cruz, who has said that you and others just describe it as scare tactics. The leadership of your party apparently believes that there's enough need for security that they were prepared to fund a border wall with Mexico, which the president called for. Do you support the leadership of your party, and do you recognize that need for some enhanced wall?

O'ROURKE: I don't. And with all due respect to Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer, neither of them understand Texas, nor do they understand the U.S.-Mexico border. We don't need walls. Those walls will be built on the private land of our fellow Texans here, on ranches, on farms, on homesteads. We'll have to use imminent domain to build a wall miles into the interior of the United States at a time that we don't need it, where every single expert who has looked at this issue says that it will not do what it is intended to do.

[08:40:13] Instead, we need to fix our immigration laws and make sure that those laws reflect our values, our interests and look like Texas, the most diverse state, the defining immigrant experience. That's our opportunity right now going forward. We don't need walls. We don't need to militarize the border. We need to move forward with our basic fundamental strengths and success, which is premised in large part upon those who want to come to this country, contribute to our success, make us a stronger and safer and, yes, more secure country.

GREGORY: So, congressman, before I let you go, as I mentioned a couple of times, you're taking on Senator Ted Cruz. You've raised a record amount of money this quarter. There's clearly a lot of enthusiasm around the country, a lot of energy in the Democrat Party against President Trump. Which leads me to wonder, do you feel like your path to victory is taking on Ted Cruz or taking on the president?

O'ROURKE: It's neither. I'm running to represent all 28 million people in the state of Texas, to get after the big, bold, ambitious work before us, making sure everyone has guaranteed, quality health care. Everyone looking for a job can find work that pays at least a living wage. And that we lead the country on immigration. That means protecting dreamers, making sure they can contribute to their full potential as U.S. citizens, and making sure that those working in the shadows, the toughest jobs that no native born American will do right now, can also get right with the law, contribute to their full potential and make this country even greater, even more successful. Those are the things that Texans can do.

GREGORY: Fair -- fair enough, but that energy -- you know that energy is coming because of opposition to the president within your own party. You don't see it as a referendum on him?

O'ROURKE: No. I mean if you listen to my fellow Texans, they're all about getting big things done for this country and for Texas. And they're going it without any corporate help, any special interests, any PACs. This campaign is funded completely by human beings. People, most of them from Texas, who are making something extraordinary happen for our state and for the country right now. I'm excited about that. That's where the energy is. We're going to be able to deliver something special for Texas and for the country.

GREGORY: OK.

O'ROURKE: And I'm just grateful to be a part of it.

GREGORY: All right, congressman, thanks so much for your time today.

O'ROURKE: Thank you, David. Appreciate it.

GREGORY: OK.

Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right, David.

More news. The new jobs report is out and it does not look good. So what happened? We break down all of the numbers for you, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:46:42] CAMEROTA: OK, more breaking news. The Labor Department releasing the March jobs report moments ago. The big headline is that jobs growth has slowed sharply in March. Alison Kosik is live with the numbers.

What are you seeing, Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Alisyn.

So we are looking at the March jobs report. It was a big miss. As you see, 103,000 jobs created in the month of March. That's a big miss because 185,000, that is the number that was expected. So, yes, this showed that job growth slowed in March.

Just to show you, though, because one month does not make a trend, although there could be a trend here. You look at March of last year, only 73,000 jobs were created during a time where we saw almost 200,000 created and 200,000 there. So something may be going on in March where we don't see employers adding jobs.

Unemployment rate holding steady at 4.1 percent. That's also a little bit of a miss. We expected it to tick down to 4 percent.

How are stocks handling this? We're seeing futures down 191 points on the Dow. Futures have been down all morning, overnight as well, over worries that Donald Trump will go ahead and put new tariffs on China, $100 billion worth. That is a huge worry for the investment community, although we are seeing futures recover quite a bit based on this weaker job report.

Alisyn. Dave.

CAMEROTA: OK. Thanks so much, Alison.

GREGORY: Thanks, Alison.

So, let's talk more about that tepid jobs report with Van Jones. We're going to get into that coming up.

CAMEROTA: Here he comes. Look at this. This is a live walk.

GREGORY: Here's the big reveal. This is the big reveal.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

GREGORY: This is almost the real Van Jones.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: (INAUDIBLE) me.

CAMEROTA: OK. We're going to get you a chair.

JONES: Good, get me a --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:50:51] CAMEROTA: All right, the March jobs report was just released moments ago and it fell short of expectations -- 103,000 jobs were created in March, 83,000 less than were expected.

So joining us now is Van Jones, host of "The Van Jones Show."

Is this just a March anomaly?

JONES: Yes, look, I mean, this is -- the plane is still pointed in the right direction. It's pointed up. But slowing down. And so, you know, the -- part of the reason Trump gets away with all this stuff is there's a sense that the economy's OK.

GREGORY: Yes.

JONES: And so that buys him the space with his base to do all kind of nutty shenanigans. They say, listen, you know, the stock market's a little bit erratic, but it's still moving in the right direction in general. So -- but this is -- this is a worrying sign, you know, when you've got 4.1, 4.2 unemployment, you've got to worry about a couple of things. You've got to worry about inflation, on the one hand, but you've also got to worry about the things starting to sputter out.

GREGORY: Right.

JONES: And you start going the other direction.

GREGORY: Well, you talk about markets, which have been spooked this week because of the prospect of a trade war. And the president saying just this morning, look, we've had a lot of gains in the stock market. We may have to give some of that back. But we'll be better off in the long term.

You know, one of the things -- you know there's -- at CNN and elsewhere we can walk and chew gum at the same time. But, you know, this administration may have known they were getting bad jobs news and made sure they got that Russian sanctions story out there. Both are significant. But this jobs report is going to get a lot of attention.

JONES: Well, it will have to get a lot of attention.

I mean I think that one of the things that Americans are underestimating is the long-term damage of this level of erratic behavior from the White House. You've got trading partners, military allies who just don't think it's smart to bet on America. So you -- oh, long term -- no, long term, this is all very, very bad. You can sometimes juice up the stock market with some really reckless deregulation. You know, you can -- you can have a really sugar rush to the economy with some tax cuts. But then long term you've got bridges falling down, you've got allies walking away from you, and that's what we don't talk about enough.

CAMEROTA: But do you want to give the president credit for what happened with the Russian oligarchs today --

JONES: Sure.

CAMEROTA: That they're sanctioning them and their -- and 38 individuals, 17 senior Russian government officials. I mean they're taking action against Russia.

JONES: Hey, listen, apparently, after a year and a half when they destroyed, you know, our confidence in our elections, when they're poisoning our allies in their home country -- I mean you've got somebody, a diplomat -- not a diplomat, a former spy, almost murdered --

CAMEROTA: And his daughter.

JONES: And his daughter, almost murdered, in broad daylight, in the U.K., we're going do something. Well, listen, that's great, but that doesn't -- listen, I think if they want a big cookie and a glass of milk and a pat on the head for doing what every other country is doing, I don't think that's good enough because we are the country that had our election disrupted. And that has still not been responded to appropriately.

CAMEROTA: But this is being responded to. I mean that -- it's late, but it's happening now.

GREGORY: Right, but the point is, there's not -- there's not -- there's not the deterrent. There's not the really deterrent piece in place, as the congressman pointing out.

Let's talk Scott Pruitt, because this gets to one of your areas of expertise. What is the real crux of the case against him as EPA administrator in terms of his environmental impact?

JONES: Yes, I mean, we talked a lot about the fact that he's corrupt, that he's spent millions of dollars flying himself around going to Disneyland. All that stuff is terrible and it's a teeny weenie little tiny crumb of the crime he has committed against this country.

GREGORY: Right.

JONES: I've never seen somebody be so aggressive about putting more pollution into the country, more poison into the bodies of young people. This guys is the most reckless deregulator I have ever seen. He seems to just be passionate about making sure that America is dirtier and less safe for our children.

And they always talk about -- and this makes me very angry. They always talk about job killing regulations. We've got to get rid of job killing regulations. Now, hold on a second. You're talking about child killing deregulation. That's what you're talking about. When you start talking about pulling back on clean water, pulling back on clean air, you know what that means? That means kids going to the hospital with asthma attacks. That means kids dying of cancer. That means -- that means hurting America. That means killing Americans. And we don't talk about it in those terms. And they get away with this stuff all the time. He is the worst. He is the worst.

CAMEROTA: Enter Al Gore. You're going to be talking with him for your show this weekend. What's the conversation?

JONES: Well, we're going to talk a lot about this. But here's the thing. You know, I love doing this show that I get a chance to do on the weekends because we do get a chance to take a step back from the tweet wars and stuff like that and look at the bigger trends. There's deeper damage being done by the Trump administration than we can even keep track of. Part of it is, you know, when you're putting all these terrible judges in place, and we aren't even talking about these terrible judges that are getting rushed through. When you're deregulating so-called -- basically I say, you know, poisoning America, there's not that much discussion.

[08:55:26] Al Gore is somebody who understands how government is supposed to work. He was a -- he was somebody who was concerned about overregulation when he was in the vice president. You remember that. Clinton had him be the guy to pull back on bad regulation, but he didn't overdo it. So I want to talk with him very intelligently about, if you want to have a -- have less regulation, how do you do it smart? But also, what is the long-term damage to us of being -- going in the wrong direction on climate?

CAMEROTA: Van Jones, great to talk to you.

GREGORY: Thanks, Van.

CAMEROTA: Don't miss "The Van Jones Show" tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

GREGORY: CNN "NEWSROOM" with Erica Hill begins after this break.

Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: Thanks for being here.

GREGORY: Have a great weekend.

CAMEROTA: It was a great week.

GREGORY: See you soon.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.

Have a great weekend, everyone.