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Top House Dem Suffers Stunning Upset, Trump Extends Winning Streak; Judge Orders Reunification of Families Separated at Border. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired June 27, 2018 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking overnight, a federal judge in California issuing a nationwide injunction to stop the Trump administration from separating families at the border. The judge also ordering families be reunited within 30 days. If a child under age 5 was separated, that reunification must happen within two weeks.
[07:00:17] Keep in mind here: we've learned from the government in the past week just six children -- six out of more than 2,000 who remain separated -- have been reunited with their parents.
We begin our coverage on this Election Center. First up, CNN's political director, David Chalian.
David, good morning.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Erica, it was an earthquake inside the Democratic Party last night. Make no bones about that.
In New York's 14th congressional district, there it is. The big winner. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28-year-old who defeats the No. 4 man in the House Democratic leadership, Joe Crowley. He's been there for two decades, and now he's going to be out of a job.
And by the way, she didn't just beat him by a squeaker. Look at that: 15-point margin, 57 percent to 42 percent. He was soundly defeated in his race last night.
Many things at play here. Generational politics. A shift going on inside the Democratic Party. Real liberal grassroots energy that seems to be driving all the fuel inside the Democratic Party this year. And of course, this is also part of the year of the woman, which has been dominating especially Democratic politics this year.
Some of the results to tick through, very good news for Donald Trump in a couple of races. In South Carolina, Henry McMaster gets by with nearly 54 percent of the vote in that run-off. You'll remember, the president went down to South Carolina to campaign for him. Vice President Pence was there last weekend. McMaster was one of President Trump's earliest supporters in the 2016 campaign in that key state. So the president taking some credit there.
He's also going to take some credit back here in New York on Staten Island, where Dan Donovan, the incumbent Republican congressman, trounced Michael Grimm, the former congressman and ex-con. By the way, it does seem that some rules in politics still apply. This is our second ex-con to emerge in a Republican primary this year and go down in defeat. Some political baggage actually still matters here.
And back in Maryland, another win for the progressive wing of the party. Ben Jealous, supported by Bernie Sanders, who worked on Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign, former head of the NAACP, he is the Democratic nominee in Maryland.
And as you mentioned, Mitt Romney, he won his primary clearly in Utah: 71 percent to 28 percent for Mike Kennedy. This state is obviously a very Republican state, so Mitt Romney is very likely now headed to the United States Senate in November.
HILL: All right, David, thank you.
And as we're watching all of that play out, there's also this other major story breaking overnight. We mentioned this legal setback for the Trump administration. A federal judge in California issuing a nationwide injunction to stop the U.S. government from separating families at the border and ordering families to be reunited within 30 days.
CNN's Laura Jarrett is live in Washington with these breaking details for us.
Laura, good morning.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Erica, good morning.
The clock is ticking for the Trump administration to come up with a plan, and they do not have much time. A federal judge has now ordered that federal officials stop detaining parents apart from their minor children. Nearly all children younger than 5 must now be returned to their parents within 14 days. And older children now all have to be returned within 30 days.
The ACLU had filed this case against the Trump administration months ago but recently ramped things up as the president's zero-tolerance policy resulted in all of these 2,000 children being separated from their parents at the border.
But this judge, Judge Sabraw in California, did not pull any punches. He blasted the Trump administration for what he called a chaotic circumstance of the government's own making. He said the situation has reached a crisis level, and officials had no real plan in place for reunification.
He did not say, however, that the administration must stop prosecuting people who cross the border illegally. But his language and tone throughout this opinion is just incredible. He says, in part, "The government readily keeps track of personal property of detainees in criminal and immigration proceedings." But then he goes on to say, "The unfortunate reality is that under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property." Now, this order was issued over the objection of the Justice
Department just yesterday, which had asked the judge to hold off while agencies continue to work through the implementation and rollout of the president's executive order last week keeping families together.
So now we wait to see if the administration tries to appeal this decision. But a Justice Department spokesperson says, just in a statement this morning, that this shows that Congress needs to act to do something more permanent -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Laura Jarrett for us. Laura, thank you very much.
Joining us now, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. David Chalian with us. And guys, we're going to get to the immigration in a moment. But first, you know, John Avlon, this political earthquake overnight with this far-left 28-year-old Democratic candidate overturning Joe Crowley, the No. 4 Democrat in the House.
[07:05:11] We've talked about the soul searching within the Republican Party that's been going on for years. Now frankly, is it the party of Trump? Is it the party of Paul Ryan? The Democratic Party, who's it the party of?
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This is the party of Bernie Sanders. That wing is ascendant. The energy is on the left in the Democratic Party. And this could not have been a more stark wakeup call.
Look, this candidate ran a great campaign. A viral ad in which she didn't highlight the fact she's a socialist but really highlighted the fact that she was a great fit for her district, really running on themes of income inequality, working-class families, and really did so in a compelling way.
Joe Crowley, not a great fit for the district as it stands. But he's outspent her 10-1. He had been -- not had a primary challenge in 10 cycles. She came out of nowhere. And it is a message that people in Washington are already waking up and taking the note. The left is ascendant in the Democratic Party. And she represents a new generation, as well as a new political flow (ph).
HILL: It's also a reminder that politics truly is local, right, David? We've spent so much time talking about what does the broad America think. And we are consistently reminded that what really matters are the people who are voting in their districts and who appeals to them.
CHALIAN: And who shows up to --
HILL: And who shows up, yes.
CHALIAN: -- make sure that their influence is felt. There's no doubt about that.
I do think that John was referencing this notion of what we've observed in the Republican Party for the better part of a decade. And the Democrats' challenge now, much like the Republican establishment, had to figure this out and maybe still be figuring it out. How to harness that energy that is actually the fuel of what's going on inside the party without being singed by it; in other words, being pulled so far to the left that they become unappealing to the middle of America in a general election.
And you saw Republicans have struggled time and again over these last 10 years of this phase of this intraparty battle. And Democrats are going to have to figure out, how do we harness the energy that is this moment in time with a different kind of progressive liberal brand that is fueling our success and not actually make the party unappealing to everyone else?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Actually --
BERMAN: You know, so Dave Weigel of "The Washington Post" -- hang on, Jeffrey. Dave Weigel of "The Washington Post" just posted something, which I found fascinating. He goes, Republicans are laughing at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the fact that she's a socialist and wants to do away with ICE reminds him of people who laughed at Donald Trump when he won the Republican primaries.
In other words, people suggesting she represents weakness in the Democratic Party should be careful, because energy is an incredible asset.
Sorry, Jeffrey. I didn't mean to interrupt you.
TOOBIN: And it's not just energy. If you look at the actual proposal she supports, as opposed to the label "socialist," which is supposedly so scary, she supports Medicare for all. She supports free college tuition. Those are popular proposals with lots of people. Not just the far left of the party.
So I think it is worth examining what she stands for rather than what label that's attached to her. And those -- those ideas may wind up spreading throughout the broader Democratic Party and even the entire electorate. Those are not scary ideas. Those are popular ideas.
AVLON: Right. But Joe Crowley was not establishment, but he was not a blue dog Democrat. And I think before Bernie Sanders really became an avatar, the word "socialist" was a third rail in American politics. Certainly in the era of Reagan. It isn't anymore.
And I think the key point is that, if the American people, the swing voters, those folks in the center are given a choice between the party of Trump and the party of Sanders, that's going to leave even more folks feeling politically homeless. And it also sends a really difficult signal about the possibility of consensus government going forward.
HILL: Interesting you point out the policies, Jeffrey, too. And David, I want to throw this one to you. Another thing, obviously, that she is very much in favor of is abolishing ICE. And we have seen more Democrats fully start to come over to that way of thinking. CHALIAN: Yes. This has been a big movement inside this wing of the
party, although Bernie Sanders, who she worked for, wouldn't go that far and wouldn't completely support that policy. So it's not -- it's not one that has completely taken over that wing of the party yet.
But it is clearly yet another -- I wouldn't say it's a full-on litmus test yet, but it is a calling card for which wing of the party you're representing if you're willing to say ICE should be shut down. That's a new policy proposal inside the --
BERMAN: Since we're talking about immigration, counselor, if I can go to you with this federal judge who ruled overnight that the administration needs to reunite these children it chose to separate from their parents within 15 days, if you're under 5; 30 days, if you're older than 5 years old.
What's the significance of this ruling? Is it enforceable? And of course, you know, it's happening in the shadow of the Supreme Court ruling that the president's travel ban, it said, is constitutional.
TOOBIN: Well, you know, it is a fascinating situation. I mean, here you have this George W. Bush appointee, this judge, just completely outraged at what's going on here.
But if you look at the level of chaos that's going on, it's that even if the government were to try in good faith to reunify, could they do it in this very tight deadline? And if they don't, what's the remedy? Is he going to -- is the judge going to hold Donald Trump in contempt?
[07:10:15] I don't -- I don't really know. And I think it just underlines how this situation, this completely -- this complete situation that's not a natural disaster, entirely the result of the Trump administration's change in policy, has created chaos. And this order will presumably inspire the Trump administration to do something other than appeal, to actually try to expedite these reunifications. But if they don't, it's far from clear to me at this point what happens then.
BERMAN: Will it? Will it cause them to expedite it? They've reunited six, six children with their parents over the last week.
TOOBIN: Maybe they'll get into double digits.
HILL: It is -- that alone, though, is remarkable. I feel like we keep saying this every single day on this show and throughout the day on this network. It is remarkable that there are more than 2,000 children, and it's still not clear -- because they are not -- we can't get the answers. If they even know where they all are. If they know who their parents are.
The fact that Laura was pointing out, in the judge's -- the judge wrote there, "We keep better track" -- and I'm paraphrasing here -- "of things that we take from people when they go to jail." OK, so we've got a watch from this guy. And you know, a little black book. And yet we don't know where children are. AVLON: We take better track of property than migrant children. And
that's six -- you know, six people. This issue has been top headlines. The president forced to backtrack. In all this time we've been discussing this, only six kids have been reunified. It is a combination of callousness, and chaos, and incompetence. And the idea that it's going to be able to turn on a dime because of this judge's order probably doesn't meet reality. But the human cost of this callousness and incompetence is massive.
BERMAN: It's hard to imagine that it's just incompetence here. It's hard to imagine that it's not a combination of incompetence and will. If they wanted to reunite the children with their parents, you would think, you would think they could.
And when I talk about will, when I talk about intention, one of the reasons you do question the intention is because of comments from the likes of the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who was speaking to a group. And he made a joke, an actual joke about the separation of children from their parents. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The rhetoric we hear from the other side on this issue, as on many others, has become radicalized. We hear views on television today that are on the lunatic fringe, frankly, and what is perhaps more galling is the hypocrisy.
These same people live in gated communities, many of them, and are featured at events where you have to have an I.D. to even come in and hear them speak. They like a little security around themselves. And if you try to scale the fence, believe me, they'll be even too happy to have you arrested and separated from your children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: It seemed like that joke was actually written for him, which is interesting in and of itself. David, sorry.
TOOBIN: I mean, how moronic is the comparison?
HILL: On so many levels.
TOOBIN: Some people live in a gated community, so they shouldn't care about migrant children? I mean, what? It just doesn't even make any sense.
CHALIAN: John, to your point, though, about will and not just incompetence, the president himself has been a little all over the place since he issued that executive order. Right?
I mean, he issued it. He then went to a rally in Minnesota, where that was not something he really touted. He gave it a one-line mention. What he really was touting was being tough on the border. Then there was reporting over the weekend in "The New York Times" that he regretted it. Then he had to come out and say, "No, no, I didn't regret it."
So he -- this has not been one of Donald Trump's actions that he then, after he holds up the thing and shows it to everyone, that he's out there touting every single day. So that gives some credence to your notion that will is at play here.
AVLON: But -- but -- but even worse. He's actually said that he thinks this issue is a political winner, in addition to whitewashing it and sort of, you know, getting whiplash from the flipflops on the issue. The fact that the attorney general's remarks were scripted. And you can see they're scripted also degrees -- also highlights the degree to which it's a question of will, and callousness, as well as incompetence.
HILL: And it talks -- and I think it also speaks to the planning here. Right? So we've talked so much about, oh, you know, there's no communications director. The president is his own communications director. He's getting his message out there.
Listen, I think we can make the case that that is likely a message that President Trump wanted out there that we're hearing from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
AVLON: If they're on speaking terms today.
BERMAN: Yes, that --
HILL: That is a fair point.
AVLON: One they're reporting here, our Sunlen Serfaty reports, she was pressing HHS officials last night to see whether they are still receiving children as part of the separation policy. And the official she talked to would not answer the question. Sunlen told us that they aggressively dodged and ignored the question about whether they are still separating children.
So I guess we don't even know whether or not more children are being added, not subtracted, added to that list of 2,047.
HILL: Should be an easy "yes" or "no," shouldn't it?
[07:15:05] BERMAN: It should be an easy "yes" or "no." More than six reunited with their families should be easier than it's been, as well.
Jeffrey Toobin, John Avlon, of course, David Chalian, thanks very much.
This was a big night for candidates backed by the president. Two of his chosen candidates did prevail. We're going to speak to someone very close to the president about this and much more. Corey Lewandowski joins us next.
BERMAN: President Trump picked up three big wins in the primaries overnight. Candidates that he backed did prevail in the primaries. So what message does that send to Republicans across the country?
Joining us now, Corey Lewandowski. He's the chief strategist of the Great America Committee PAC and the former campaign manager for President Trump.
Corey, thanks so much for joining us.
The races everyone was watching, Henry McMaster in South Carolina and Dan Donovan here in New York. The president went out for them pretty hard. They won. What does that tell you?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, it tells me the president continues to be exceptionally popular with the Republican electorate, those people who voted him into office.
And if you look at what this administration did when it came to South Carolina, Henry McMaster specifically was a very early supporter of candidate Trump. President Trump was down in South Carolina over the weekend -- I'm sorry, on Monday. The vice president was down there.
And this is a race where they wanted to make sure the people of South Carolina knew that Henry was on the Trump agenda. They went down there in full force, and the voters turned out to support him and McMaster in what was a runoff election.
BERMAN: Clearly, McMaster needed it. He clearly won down there in the run-off election.
You say the president continues to have success. This is actually different than what we saw in Alabama in the Senate race there. He was a two-time loser: in that race, candidates the president supported, and in Pennsylvania, of course, he lost that special election race when he came out against Conor Lamb. So this is actually a new level of success for the president. Why?
LEWANDOWSKI: I don't -- I don't think so. I think if you look across the board, look, I believe the president is going out to North Dakota today to do an event out there for Congressman Kramer, who's running against Heidi Heitkamp, who continues to say that she's part of the Trump agenda, except she voted against, as every Democrat did, and we know this, against the historic tax cuts to help working-class families.
And so look, when you're a Republican and you're in a primary race and you are trying to decide if you're going to support or oppose the Trump agenda, it's very clear that the Trump base is holding very strong. It's continuing to grow. And so in those Republican primary races, Donald Trump continues to be very, very successful.
BERMAN: Corey, how is it that HHS has only reunited six children that the government separated from their parents? Six children within the last week. Does that represent competence to you?
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I don't know that number to be accurate. I don't know where it comes from. BERMAN: It comes from HHS. It comes from HHS. HHS itself tells us
that they have reunited six children with their parents in the last week. There are 2,047 children under HHS custody right now. One week ago, it was 253 [SIC]. So that data is from the U.S. government.
LEWANDOWSKI: So there's 253 people in custody last week, and now there's 2,047?
BERMAN: No, 2,053. Now there are 2,047.
LEWANDOWSKI: OK. I just think you misspoke.
So look -- look, I don't work for the administration. So let me be clear about that. But I will also be clear: I don't think parents should be separated from their children. But I also don't think parents should be coming to the country illegally. So we have to solve the problem.
And it looks now that we have a federal judge who said, and this has been standing for a long time, that children cannot be separated from their parents for more than 20 days. It's a policy that this administration is going to follow and adhere to, because that's what the federal law says.
So what we need to do is we need to make sure that people understand that if they come to the country illegally --
BERMAN: Corey -- Corey, I'm asking you about basic competence here. You said you do not think that children should be separated from their parents. The president signed an executive order to the same effect last week. And yet, the government is unable to reunify them.
I'm not talking about the policy. I'm talking about the competence here.
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, again, I don't work for the government. So if you want to interview a government employee, you're welcome to do that. I don't work for the government.
BERMAN: Are you impressed by that number?
LEWANDOWSKI: Am I impressed? Look -- look, we can have a conversation about what is right and what is wrong on the border. And I think it's a very important conversation. And I've said, I don't think parents should be separated from their children.
But we also have to be clear. If they were in any other country and they came into the country illegally, in any country in the world, they'd be separated. So we have to understand that, first and foremost.
No. 2, what we have to understand is you're putting those children in grave danger by bringing them to this country illegally, through coyotes, through all the problems that they face.
BERMAN: Corey -- LEWANDOWSKI: And so look, let's get the problem solved by giving people --
BERMAN: Corey --
LEWANDOWSKI: -- an opportunity to come to this country legally.
BERMAN: This is America. First of all, let's just establish we're talking about America here, the country that you and I both live in --
LEWANDOWSKI: Of course.
BERMAN: -- and the country that separated these children from their parents.
A federal judge overnight ruled that children younger than 5 have to be reunited in the next 14 days, children older than five in the next 30 days. And the judge said, "The unfortunate reality is that, under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency as property."
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, look, that's a terrible thing. But we also have a significant problem.
BERMAN: So fix it. So fix it. Fix it.
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, this problem -- this problem.
BERMAN: Fix it.
LEWANDOWSKI: OK. If you'd like me to answer, I'm happy to. Or you can do the interview yourself. Do you want me to answer right now?
BERMAN: Go ahead.
LEWANDOWSKI: OK, No. 1, I don't work for the government.
No. 2, you can't tell me, within a million people, how many illegal immigrants are in this country. And that's a problem. We don't know within 3 million people how many illegals are in this country. That's a problem.
BERMAN: But --
LEWANDOWSKI: It has been a problem that has persisted for a long time.
BERMAN: Corey --
LEWANDOWSKI: And this administration, which I do not work for, has finally tried to do something, which is to sign an executive order which did not exist under the previous administration of stopping parents from being separated from their families.
BERMAN: You're saying we don't know how many illegal immigrants are here. LEWANDOWSKI: We don't know.
BERMAN: We do know. We do know. Because HHS told us overnight --
LEWANDOWSKI: You tell me within five million people.
BERMAN: HHS told us overnight -- because HHS told us overnight --
LEWANDOWSKI: Fine, you talk.
BERMAN: That 2,043 children have not been reunited with their parents.
LEWANDOWSKI: John -- John, you tell me how many illegals are living in this country, John. How many illegals? John, within three million, you tell me. Is it two million, is it five? Is it five million or is it eight?
BERMAN: It's not the issue.
LEWANDOWSKI: It is the issue, John, because our borders are so broken.
BERMAN: It is not the issue. Because the president -- the president has said --
LEWANDOWSKI: John, the issue is, we don't know --
BERMAN: -- we will not separate parents from their children anymore.
LEWANDOWSKI: That's right, John.
BERMAN: And we're now talking about these 2,000 children.
LEWANDOWSKI: John, the issue is an immigration issue. And the fact that we have a city the size of New York which has eight million people in it, and we don't know if there's eight million illegals living in this country or two million is a problem. So let's fix the broken immigration system so we don't have these problems.
BERMAN: Good, let's fix that, and let's reunite those children with their parents.
LEWANDOWSKI: Everybody agrees with that.
BERMAN: Then do it. Then do it more than six. Corey, you could have walked more than six of them to their parents within the last week.
LEWANDOWSKI: John, I don't know the specific cases. I don't know where the parents are. What we do know is that most of the times, when those parents are separated, those individuals who break the law by coming into the country illegally don't show up for court. I don't know where they are today. I don't know what the specific cases are. They --
BERMAN: Twenty-five percent. There's a 25 percent. That's not most. Twenty-five percent in absentia rate.
Corey, I do want to get your take on another thing. The Republican Party, the president fund-raising off the issue of civility and Maxine Waters, talking about the comment that Maxine Waters made. That Democrats should push back, should confront her in public, in protest.
Do you think the Republican Party should be fundraising off of this?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, I think what they -- what they talked about also in that fundraising, as you know, is the abuse that Sarah Huckabee Sanders took. And now we see that because of that abuse, it looks like she'll be provided, on a temporary basis, Secret Service protection to make sure her and her family are safe. And I think that's a sad state of affairs.
BERMAN: She was asked to leave a restaurant. OK. She was asked --
LEWANDOWSKI: John --
BERMAN: She was asked to leave a restaurant. You're talking about --
LEWANDOWSKI: John, tell the whole story. Tell the whole story. What happened after she left the restaurant?
BERMAN: She left the restaurant.
LEWANDOWSKI: And then what happened?
BERMAN: She went to another restaurant.
LEWANDOWSKI: And then what happened with the owner of the previous restaurant?
BERMAN: She went to another restaurant. I know Sarah and her father say that the owner followed her across the street.
LEWANDOWSKI: Are you calling them liars.
BERMAN: I don't know the -- I do not know what happened later.
LEWANDOWSKI: You're saying her and her father are being dishonest?
BERMAN: I know she has Secret Service protection today, Corey. I also know she was asked to leave a restaurant.
BERMAN: I also know --
LEWANDOWSKI: So why -- why would they have Secret Service protection if it wasn't a credible threat?
BERMAN: I also know, Corey, that the president of the United States, if we're talking about civility and we're talking about threats, let me just read you some of the things he has said out loud at rallies. "Knock the crap out of him. Just knock the hell out of him. I promise you, I'd pay his legal fees." "I'd like to punch him in the face." "I would have been boom, boom, boom." So --
LEWANDOWSKI: John, do you think it's OK that Sarah Service [SIC] has -- Sarah Sanders has to have Secret Service protection because of credible threats against her? Do you think that's fair as a government employee?
BERMAN: I leave that up -- that's one -- I leave that to the Secret Service as to what they do.
BERMAN: That is a Secret Service decision. And they can make it. I am talking --
LEWANDOWSKI: That's right. And they wouldn't make that decision -- John, they wouldn't make that decision unless there were a credible threat.
BERMAN: I'm asking, Corey, about the issue of civility in this country.
LEWANDOWSKI: Right. That is the civility issue.
BERMAN: I'm asking about the president's role in the civility in this country.
LEWANDOWSKI: But -- but that is the civility issue.
BERMAN: When the president has physically threatened people from the podium before, is that not the same thing or worse than suggesting -- asking someone to leave a restaurant?
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, if we're talking about what Maxine Waters said, if we're talking about words that have been used, clearly, there's a problem in the country, and it's only getting worse.
And I think it's shameful that a government employee who's out just trying to do their job with their family is not only asked to leave a restaurant but then followed to the next restaurant and heckled again. And we've seen it not on one occasion now, but on multiple occasions with -- we've seen it with Secretary Nielsen of the Homeland Security Department.
BERMAN: Is it OK --
LEWANDOWSKI: We've seen it with Stephen Miller.
BERMAN: Is it OK Corey, if you're concerned about personal safety, if it goes that far, is it OK for a presidential candidate to threaten someone at a rally?
LEWANDOWSKI: John, when did this happen? When did this happen, John?
BERMAN: So it's OK? It's OK this happened in the campaign?
LEWANDOWSKI: No, John, I'm asking you when did the president make these comments, and when did Maxine Waters make the comments? If we're going to talk about --
BERMAN: He made them for months and months during the campaign.
LEWANDOWSKI: John, when? John, you have the paper in front of you.
BERMAN: And Corey also, yesterday -- and just yesterday -- I don't have the dates when he made them, but he made them months and months for --
LEWANDOWSKI: John, because here's the difference. Maxine Waters made these comments --
BERMAN: Hang, on Corey.
LEWANDOWSKI: -- 48 hours ago --
BERMAN: And then 24 hours ago --
LEWANDOWSKI: -- when Sarah Huckabee was asked to leave.
BERMAN: Twenty-four hours ago, President Trump said, "You better be careful, Max." Which sounds like as much of a threat as Maxine Waters made, if not more. He's a government official.
LEWANDOWSKI: That's right. Maxine Waters has now been referred to the Ethics Committee for further review for her comments about pushing back on government employees. Have you mentioned that to the viewers today, John?
BERMAN: We talked a lot about Maxine Waters on this show.
LEWANDOWSKI: And her review to the Ethics Committee? And her review to the Ethics Committee?
BERMAN: We talked a lot about Maxine Waters on this show and whether -- whether or not --
LEWANDOWSKI: Do you believe she should be reviewed in the Ethics Committee?
BERMAN: -- and whether or not that was the appropriate thing. Corey, you of course -- you of course --
LEWANDOWSKI: So do you believe that, as a member of Congress, her ethics is in accord with what it should be for a member of Congress? And do you believe the review of the Ethics Committee is appropriate?
BERMAN: I don't like anyone threatening anything. I will leave it up to others to interpret. If she was threatening someone when she said people should push back. I think also it's not much interpretation needed when the president says he would go "Boom, boom, boom" or punch them in the face.
LEWANDOWSKI: So do you think the Ethics Committee should review Maxine Waters?
BERMAN: Do I think the Ethics Committee --
BERMAN: It's not my decision, Corey. It's not my decision.
LEWANDOWSKI: Of course it's not your decision. But I'm asking you a question, John.
BERMAN: If they do, Corey, they'll look at it. I think they will weigh it versus other things, and they'll weigh it versus the rhetoric we're hearing.
LEWANDOWSKI: Should you be held accountable for threatening government employees? That's the question.
BERMAN: Corey, Corey, I want to -- threatening -- if you think that's what she did. Did the government -- did the president of the United States --
LEWANDOWSKI: Not me. Play her clip. You can play it any time. Let's play it.
BERMAN: Did the president threaten the government employee when he said, "Be careful, Max"?
LEWANDOWSKI: No. I think being careful is not a threat. But asked if --