Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Rep. Mike Qugley; President Trump Pays Tribute to Fallen Police Officers; Latest on Hawaii Situation. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 16, 2018 - 08:30   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: -- while putting literally a physical wall between the two sides in the workroom. You couldn't get it done. You couldn't separate the politics from what was the purpose of the investigation. Why go back to that?

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY, D-ILLINOIS: Yes, let's remember the wall wasn't our idea. Shutting down the investigation wasn't our idea. Refusing to subpoena witnesses, or allowing a gag order, or the midnight run to the White House; that wasn't our idea.

Sometimes, with the greatest respect, there's not a 'two sides to every story.' This time the Republicans shut it down. They acted in concert with the White House to obstruct the investigation.

We still got important things done. Those transcripts would bear that out, sir.

CUOMO: I'm -- look, I'm hearing you about the transcripts. I'm a journalist, all about transparency, love leaks. Give us as much information as we can have so the people can make the assessment, especially because of my earlier point that this was so politicized, this investigation.

I'm not smearing the Senate efforts. We haven't seen the same indications of bias there. But I just don't know why you'd want to put it together again when it didn't seem to work the first time.

But let's get to the facts. What about this man being at the meeting, this Qatari investor. What bothers you about it?

QUIGLEY: The fact that we didn't know and that it had been held back from us. I don't know how his -- what exactly he's saying, and where he said he was at what point in time. But again, if you read the transcripts, we asked witnesses, seven ways from Sunday, who was there at what point in time talking about these issues?

The fact of the matter is if they're going to deceive from the beginning, it's very hard to get to the truth. There's no way that we can ask questions that can get to the points when someone is attempting to hide that information from you.

CUOMO: Were people asked if this man was at meetings?

QUIGLEY: No, because I don't think anyone necessarily knew who this person was at the time.

CUOMO: So could it be that he wasn't considered relevant by the people you interviewed?

QUIGLEY: You know it's hard to imagine. If you read the testimony, you'd understand we were trying to get to that point. But these were very well prepared witnesses; witnesses who were only going to answer the question that they were asked. So we can't pull a million names out of the hat and ask all of them. The questions went long enough.

You have to double that problem with the fact that most of the folks, if they didn't want to answer a question, they didn't have to because they weren't subpoenaed. And again, my Republican colleagues refused to issue the subpoenas. And the one instance in which they did, with Mr. Bannon, they refused to press him when he refused to answer questions.

CUOMO: So is it just about the unknown that bothers you? Or there something about this man in particular that you think raises issues?

QUIGLEY: Oh, I think it's not just him. I think it's all the other questions that go along with this. I think that the American public was deceived and blocked from finding the truth.

You could tell me tomorrow there are four other instances along these lines. This isn't just a political web of deceit. It's a financial one. And again, it's a lot easier to find out these things if there's an inquiry going on.

CUOMO: Do you think Michael Cohen was honest with you when he said that there was nothing going on between the Trump campaign and Russia, during the same period that you now say he was negotiating with Russia for a potential development deal?

QUIGLEY: Well, let's remember he testified last October before our committee. Even before the revelations of the Russian oligarchs payments to him, there were reasons to bring him back.

We should have subpoenaed his travel records. We should have subpoenaed additional evidence relating to Trump Tower in Moscow as new evidence came forward.

This, of course, just blows up the whole thing, calls into questions all of his testimony, specifically as it relates to what were the payments for, had something to do with sanctions, or is it just the typical pay-for-play? Neither of those answers are very good for the American public.

CUOMO: All right. Congressman Quigley, thank you very much for making a case for the American people. I appreciate it.

QUIGLEY: Thank you, and by the way, I'm hearing go Cubs when you're repeating that line.

CUOMO: Well, that is a sign of a true mental illness. You should get that checked right away. QUIGLEY: I sure will.

CUOMO: And whatever malady you have deserves parody with all other illness.

QUIGLEY: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: It's good to see you, Congressman, thank you for (inaudible).

QUIGLEY: You too, take care.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: All right. Meanwhile, Hawaii is now -- you have to hear the update on what's happened on the big island. They're issuing a red alert after the Kilauea volcano has spewed a plume of ash 12,000 feet into the air.

So we're going to take you there live to show you the situation on the ground.



CAMEROTA: Join now for the five things to know for your new day - number one, North Korea is threatening to abandon its summit with President Trump, saying it will not be put in a corner on nuclear abandonment. The White House says they're still hopeful, but if the meeting does not happen they'll maintain their maximum pressure campaign.

CUOMO: Another sign the Trump administration is moving forward with plans to separate families in its immigration crackdown, a defense department official says migrant children may be held at military bases if their parents are caught crossing the border.

CAMEROTA: C.I.A. Director Nominee Gina Haspel's confirmation virtually a lock after Senator Mark Warner the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee signals his support. The full senate could vote as soon as Thursday.

CUOMO: The top lawyer at the Swiss pharmaceutical company, Novartis, is stepping down following revelations the company made payments to Michael Cohen. In a statement Felix Ehrat says, "Although Cohen's contract was legal, it was an error".

CAMEROTA: At least two deaths reported from storms that have pummeled the northeast, knocking out power to nearly half a million customers in five states. A state of emergency in effect in several counties in upstate New York.

CUOMO: For more on the five things to know, go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: While meanwhile, Hawaii has issued a red alert after the Kilauea volcano spewed a plume of Ash 12,000 feet into the air.


This, as authorities warn, the volcano could become even more explosive. So, CNN's Scott McLean is live in Hawaii with the latest for us. What's happening Scott?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey good morning Chris and Alisyn. Well Kilauea continues to keep people on their toes, even after almost two weeks. There are now more than 20 fissures, massive cracks in the earth that have opened up.

Let me show you the one that we've been watching now for the past three nights. Geologist say this is actually downing down, but you certainly would not know it from this vantage point. You can see it continues to spew lava high into the sky. You can also hear the occasional explosion.

Now these fissures, they are also releasing sulfur dioxide. It is a toxic gas that is creating, according to officials, immediate health risks in some areas. The other issue here is the main crater of Kilauea, which yesterday sent a massive ash plume more tan a mile into the sky blanketing the area downwind. People in that are, they're being told to stay indoors, or at the very least, wear a mask if they're going outside.

Now this was not, though, the big explosion that people here are really fearing. Geologists say, that could still come and if it does, it could send boulders the size of cars flying some half a mile. Smaller rocks, they could go much further than that.

And Chris and Alisyn, what's really surprised us here is that even with all of this danger, even people living here where we're standing, just a little more than a mile away from this active fissure, they're not evacuating. A lot of them are staying here. That said, they are packed and ready to go if things get any worse.

CUOMO: A lot of people want to stay close to home. They're worried about what they have and some of them have nowhere to go. Scott, thank you so much. Be safe.

CAMEROTA: Okay meanwhile, President Trump honoring a fallen NYPD officer and her family during an emotional ceremony in D.C. What was that moment like? Members of the family join us live to tell us next.

CUOMO: But first, a burn survivor becomes a beauty inspiration. Okay? Her name is Shalom Blac and she shares her story in Turning Points. Watch this.


SHALOM BLAC, BURN VICTIM TURNED BEAUTY INSPIRATION: I'm Shalom Blac, I am a beauty and inspiration blogger on YouTube. I do transformation videos. That is what people really know me for, the thing that really separates me from everyone else that does YouTube videos is my scars.

I am from Nigeria, and I got burned when I was 9 years old at my mother's restaurant. The pan of oil just literally fell on me and my younger sister. I'm not sure exactly how many surgeries I got in and life took a huge, huge turn for me. I didn't want to go to school. Everybody just sort of looked at me and felt discussed. I started thinking about committing suicide because of the bullying.

When I moved here I got introduced to proper make-up in the hospital, but then I came across YouTube videos. I started applying that to how I want my make-up to look. I started getting e-mails and D.M.s just people telling me how I inspire them, how they are willing to challenge themselves and face their fears. I don't feel any different whether I have make-up on or not, I'm very, very much in tune with my looks. I see beauty regardless.


ANNOUNCER: Turning Points, brought to you by Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Care that never quits.



CAMEROTA: President Trump's tribute to police officers killed in the line of duty led to an emotional moment on stage. The President went off script at the National Peace Officers' Memorial and called for the family of a fallen New York police officer, Miosotis Familia, to join him on stage.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Where is that family? Where is that great family? Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Can you come up here? This is a great - can - come up here please? I just want to say that, to your entire family, it's such an honor to have you up here.

We weren't going to bring you up, but I looked at you in the audience and I said, you have to come up because you're representing something so important. You understand that. She loved the department. She loved being a police officer. She loved her job. She was respected by everybody.

They told me all about her. She was respected by everybody. So, she's, right now, right there and she's looking down and she's so proud of you.


CAMEROTA: We also want to mention that the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has raised almost $430,000 for a new home for that family. And all three of Officer Familia's children join us now. We have Genesis Villela and her twins, Peter and Delila Vega. Guys, it's so great to see you this morning. Genesis, tell us about that moment and if you were - how surprised you were when the President called you up on stage.

GENESIS VILLELA, DAUGHTER OF SLAIN NYPD OFFICER: It was really unexpected, but really great. In his speech, he was talking about some - some stories of the fallen officers that, I guess, really stood out. And one of those stories happens to be my mom's story and the tragedy that surrounded her death.

And when he invited us up on stage, a moment like that was very - it was very important and for my mom's heroism and her legacy, to be acknowledged by the President of the United States was a very special moment to us.

CAMEROTA: Peter, what was it like for you?

PETER VEGA, SON OF SLAIN NYPD OFFICER: I was - I was really happy that he called us up, because I knew that, you know, I'm honoring my mother and the fact that my mother's name came out of his mouth just, you know, he's the President of the United States. I think that's really huge. So, you know I was -- I was delighted.


CAMEROTA: Delilah, how did you feel, were you surprised?

DELILAH VEGA, DAUGHTER OF SLAIN NYPD OFFICER MIOSOTIS FAMILIA: Well, I was honestly shocked because like, the fact that like the president like called my mother's name is like really big. And I was just like really shocked. I was -- I was just really surprised.

CAMEROTA: You guys are 13-years-old --

P. VEGA: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- you -- you, Peter and Delilah. And, I have 13-year-old twins as well. And so, I totally relate to your relationship with your mom. And -- and obviously, I can only imagine the horror of what that loss is like. And so, Peter, what was it like for the president to talk about your mom's bravery?

P. VEGA: Off of the bat, it was really huge because, one, I know my mother was really brave. And, you know, since the -- you know, President of the United States is recognizing that she was brave -- brave, I was, you know, really happy.

CAMEROTA: You know, Delilah, the president was saying everybody respected your mom and he said, "I've been told." You know, so clearly his staff told him about the feelings in the NYPD about your mom. And, in fact, her partner has talked about that, and about how brave she was, and about how she had an opportunity to have a desk job but that wasn't for her. And so, can you tell us about your mom's love of the NYPD?

D. VEGA: Well, she loved it like a lot, and she would go to work every day and she would actually love going to her job. And she would just like love it a lot. And she would also miss us but she also loved her job, really a lot, yes.

CAMEROTA: And, Genesis, I mean, obviously that's a dangerous job and you, you know, if you're out on the streets, you know that there's no such thing as sort of a routine encounter. And so, what did your mom say about the danger?

VILLELLA: Well the thing is, my mom -- I was -- well, we were very aware of the danger that she would face on the street. And in spite of like -- despite that, she still loved going to work every day.

And she told me personally that she felt that being a police officer was her calling, because she truly felt that it was her job. And she truly felt that she needed to remove the injustice off the streets, and that she needed to protect New Yorkers. And I would, of course, worry about her before she started every tour (ph), whenever she would like walk out the door, even on the last night that she left.

I was going to say (ph), we all worried about her; but, I knew and I respected the fact that she needed to do her job, and she needed to protect and serve the citizens of New York and to keep us safe, not only us but everyone. And everyone -- everyone who would be asleep when she was up, out there -- excuse me (ph).

CAMEROTA: Yes, Genesis, listen it's so powerful. I mean, the way you're phrasing it is so powerful that she was doing a selfless act. She knew what the danger was but she felt compelled and that it was her calling to go and protect everybody --


CAMEROTA: -- obviously, over herself. And I think that that's just really powerful to remember. And so, Peter, what are your thoughts on -- on, you know, your mom's bravery being highlighted? And also, just what she -- why she loved her job so much?

PETER VEGA: I think it was -- well, you know, my mother was really brave. And I think it being highlighted and said is pretty nice because, you know, as a cop, you know, you have to meet those standards of bravery. You know, you have to have the heart to protect your city and, you know ...

VILLELLA: To put your life on the line.

P. VEGA: -- yes, to put your life on the line. So, you know, it -- it was a -- it was a big sacrifice. So, I feel like, you know, she loved that job. She loved, you know, helping others.

CAMEROTA: Yes, obviously, it's a huge sacrifice for your entire family. Delilah, what do you want us to know about your mom?

D. VEGA: Well, that she was really brave. And that she was really brave to like sacrifice, basically, her life to even like protect everyone. And I think that's like actually, like, really huge for a person to do because not that many people are actually selfless like her. And so, I feel like that was, like, amazing that she could do something like that.

CAMEROTA: It is huge for a person to do and it selfless. And for the three of you as well, and so Genesis, Peter, Delilah, we really appreciate you coming on and sharing, you know, a piece of your mom with us. And we're so happy that she was recognized nationally that way. Take care of yourselves. Thank you so much --


P. VEGA: Thank you, take care.

D. VEGA: Thank you.

VILLELA: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: -- for being with us. New Day will be right back.


CUOMO: All right, hopefully you just heard those kids talking about the dedication of their mother and how much she loved being a police officer. The good stuff is another example of how police risk their lives everyday just doing their job. All right, officers in New Jersey come across a burning vehicle. They just jump into action.


UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Get out, get out. Come on. Get out of the car, (INAUDIBLE), get out, get out of the burning (ph) car.


CUOMO: (INAUDIBLE) not these guys. Inside, a man is slumped over the steering wheel. In seconds, that car can go at any moment. A 42 man is dragged out, got into the hospital, he is OK.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, they are just angels. I mean, so brave to be able to go into that kind of situation.

CUOMO: Angels among us. We have to remember that that's what their job is and we make sure that they do it right.

CAMEROTA: And the families sacrifice so much, as we just learned --


CAMEROTA: -- in our last segment. All right, on that note, it's time for CNN Newsroom with John Berman and Poppy Harlow.