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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Defeats Incumbent Joe Crowley in New York Democratic Congressional Primary; Pittsburgh Police Officer who Killed Unarmed Black Teen Arrested for Homicide; FBI Agent Who Sent Anti-Trump Texts to Meet with Congress; Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Defeats 10-Term Rep. Joe Crowley; Only 6 of 2000-Plus Immigrant Children Reunited with Parents; Trump Says Harley- Davidson Waved White Flag. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired June 27, 2018 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The upset winner, first time candidate, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, just 28-years-old, supported by the Democratic Socialists of America, she ran to the far left in this race. So what does that tell you about where the energy is in the Democratic Party and its chances in November? Other big results overnight, Mitt Romney picked up the Republican nomination in Utah, and Republicans that the president specifically supported over the last few days, they prevailed in their races.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: We are also following these breaking developments 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 that families be reunited within 30 days unless there's a child under the age of five who is separated. In that case the reunification must happen within two weeks. We've also learned from HHS that in the past week, six children of the more than 2,000 who remain separated have been reunited with their parents, only six.
We'll begin our coverage with this election stunning. CNN political director David Chalian is here with us in the studio. David?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Erica, it really was an earthquake inside the Democratic Party last night in that New York 14th Congressional district out in Queens and the Bronx. Here's the big winner of the night, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, first time candidate, 28 years old, and really representing the insurgent progressive liberal wing inside the party. This is a story of what's going on inside Democratic Party politics. It's a story of generational change, racial and demographic change, and ideological change inside the party as well.
And by the way, she didn't just win in a squeaker. She won big, 57 percent to 42 percent, 15 points. She defeated the number four Democrat in the House of Representatives, somebody talked about as a potential speaker of the House. Here's the warning sign. If you are part of the old guard Democratic establishment of the previous generation, beware. There's a new grassroots liberal energy inside the party. Some of the races to note, Donald Trump had a pretty good night last
night, too. He had big wins in South Carolina. Henry McMaster won the gubernatorial runoff there on the Republican side with nearly 54 percent of the vote. Donald Trump was down there campaigning. Mike Pence was down there over the weekend. And you remember that Henry McMaster was one of Donald Trump's earliest supporters in 2016. So he paid back here big time.
And also on Staten Island, in the 11th Congressional district in New York, Dan Donovan, he also got Donald Trump's support even though voted against his tax cut, and he soundly defeated Michael Grimm, look at that, 64 percent to 36 percent. Grimm, former congressman but also former ex-con just out of jail and trying to make a comeback. Obviously that political baggage was a little too much for him to carry.
Also on the progressive side in Maryland, Ben Jealous, former head of the NAACP big Bernie Sanders supporters and Bernie Sanders came in and supported him in this race, he emerges a 10-point win there in a crowded Democratic field at the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Maryland.
And Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president, is now likely to be headed to the United States Senate. He wins his Republican primary in Utah big time, 72 percent to 28 percent. Of course, everyone is going to be watch to go see even when Romney does get to Washington, as is expected, is he going to be a big Trump critic, take on the president from inside his party, or is he going to go along to get along as it relates to the president.
BERMAN: It's 24 years after first running for Senate in Massachusetts, might be finally headed to the Senate from Utah. David Chalian, thanks so much.
I actually went to sleep last night, and when I woke up and saw the primary results, my reaction was, oh, my. Now I do not know if Nancy Pelosi went to sleep. I do not know if democratic leaders in Washington went to sleep or Andrew Cuomo in Albany, but I bet if they woke up or sometime in the middle of the night they said oh, my, as well.
HILL: When someone called to wake them up and say you need to see this.
BERMAN: Indeed. Joining us now, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, CNN political analyst Josh Green. If you are Nancy Pelosi, John Avlon, if you are Andrew Cuomo this morning, after you say oh, my, what's going through your head?
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And that's probably the G-rated version of what they said. Look, you cannot take your primaries for granted if you are an establishment Democrat. Even if you're doing the political work you think you need to do, are you a good fit for your district, do you have the energy and enthusiasm of the grassroots behind you, because the energy in the Democratic Party is with the sons and daughters of Bernie Sanders right now. That means Andrew Cuomo can't take a Cynthia Nixon challenge for granted. It means Nancy Pelosi, while I think she's probably pretty well positioned within her party, the energy is to the left.
And this candidate who beat Joe Crowley, Crowley outspent her 10 to one. But he was no longer a good fit for the district. She really did run on authenticity, working class roots, a sense of community, and she's an inspiring figure in Congress going forward for this new generation.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: But she didn't just run on her identity, and I think it's important to talk about the issues that she ran on. She ran on Medicaid for all, expanding health care, not Obamacare, but Medicare, much closer to a single-payer system. That's a popular idea, not just on the left.
[08:05:07] Lowering or eliminating tuition for college, that's a popular idea. These are ideas that people need to take seriously, not just the candidates.
HILL: She also ran on, we see it on the screen, she also ran on abolishing ICE, obviously an especially hot topic in this climate as we're talking so much about immigration. What's been interesting, Josh, is we are seeing more Democrats start to maybe not fully endorse that, but they're starting to talk about it a lot more and talk about it in a more encouraging ways, showing they're moving that way.
JOSH GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely, and clearly Donald Trump is the person forcing that change in the Democratic Party. If you look just in the last two weeks at poll numbers among Democrats, the issue of immigration has shot up near the top of issues most important to Democrats, and I think that's why messages like Ocasio- Cortez has resonated.
BERMAN: She went to the border. She went to the border.
GREEN: Yes, exactly.
BERMAN: Days before her primary which is in New York City, she goes to the border.
GREEN: They should start a Democratic shuttle plane or something down to the border, because every serious national Democratic politician is going to now want to go down there and visit the border.
One other point to make, though. You'd ask what should Nancy Pelosi worry about? I think that what incumbent Democrats ought to worry about is the fact that Joe Crowley didn't run as a centrist in this district. He adjusted his positions. He moved to the left to try and follow his party, and he still got beat by a 28-year-old upstart. I think to me --
BERMAN: But that's where I want to disagree with Jeffrey, and Jeffrey, yes, she did run on issues, but she also embraced more than you usually see, because generational candidates who are running on that, candidates who want to highlight gender or racial issues, they don't highlight it explicitly. She did. She said I'm 28-years-old. There is a generational choice here in the Democratic Party, I'm going to say it out loud and own it.
TOOBIN: But remember, too, what kind of district this is in Queens spread out over Queens and the Bronx. I think it's only 20 percent white anymore, this district. And I think it's 40 percent Hispanic, significantly Asian as well as African-American. That I think -- that's a great message for that district. Not every district where Democrats are running is going to look like that. If the Democrats retake the House of Representatives, it's going to be because they win in the suburbs outside Philadelphia, outside Pittsburgh. Those are very different districts and I'm not sure the same message will resonate in the same way.
AVLON: It won't. One of the flow throughs is running candidates who are a better fit for your district. She is a much better fit for her district in terms of age, demographics, and probably politics, running as a young working class mother, than Joe Crowley was. Conor Lamb is a better fit for his district. But one of the upshots is we've got both parties moving further to the polls. We've had asymmetric polarization for a while. But if it really is a choice or seems to be a choice between the party of Trump and the party of Sanders, you're going to have a lot of politically homeless folks. And folks who are trying to bring people together, that's going to be a deeper divide.
HILL: It's fascinating, too, you point out Conor Lamb, we talk about Ocasio-Cortez. It is really important to remember that while the Democrats have not come to a common message beyond going against Donald Trump at this point, they need to also remember that the local messages are what really matters.
GREEN: They are. The commonality among races in purple to red district like Lamb's in Pennsylvania and Ocasio-Cortez's, which is bright blue in New York, is that you have candidates that fit the district. I think the common thread here is youth and the idea of a new generation. Both of these candidates are young. We've seen a lot of young candidates, especially young women in Democratic primaries, really overperform and surprise. And to me that says the generation of leaders in their 70s and 80s like Pelosi, like Steny Hoyer, are probably on their last legs. Whether or not the Democrats win back the House, we might have a speaker challenge, we might not. But they're going to be off the stage pretty soon and a new generation of Democratic leaders is going to be coming up.
BERMAN: Jeffrey Toobin, while we have you here, I do want to ask you about this federal court ruling. The judge who ruled that the administration must reunite the separated children with their parents within the next 15 days if they're younger than five, 30 days if they're older than five years old, and this judge writing the unfortunate reality that under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency as property.
TOOBIN: It's really an extraordinary ruling not least because it comes from a George W. Bush appointee in San Diego. The magnitude of the problem we are only really beginning to understand. It's more than 2,000 children. They are spread out not across the border, they are spread out across the whole country. [08:10:00] So the idea of reunifying them, even if the administration
is operating in good faith, which it's not clear it is, would be an enormous -- is going to be an enormous challenge. How this judge responds to the failure to comply with his order, which the government almost certainly will fail because, as you've been pointing out all morning, six families have been reunified out of more than 2,000. This has been a complete fiasco. There doesn't seem to be any way all 2,000 will be reunited within 15 or 30 days. The legal part of this fight, which has been mostly in the media and mostly political, the legal part of this fight is just now being joined, and it is going to be an ugly and lengthy matter.
HILL: One of our own security advisers of course has experience with the Department of Homeland Security. She was pointing out that I was just reading on Twitter, look, seven days should be enough time to at least start to get some sort of planning, some sort of infrastructure in place so that you actually do know where these children are so that they're more well accounted for than property is. And that is the glaring, gaping hole we see, John, is the fact that not only can we not get any answers, it's not clear that there is an answer in terms of how they would even fulfill this order from the judge.
AVLON: It requires expertise in, you know, governing. And we've got chaos and incompetence and callousness, but that critical mixture, we have not been keeping receipts for children. The government is not keeping track of children the way they do property, and that is an outrage.
BERMAN: Hey, Toobs, we're running out of time here, but I didn't want to let you go without predicting whether or not we're going to see a Supreme Court vacancy within the next few days or weeks. A lot of people speculated that Anthony Kennedy could choose to retire.
TOOBIN: Today is the last day of the term, and it's traditional, although not required, that on the last day justices announce if they're leaving. Obviously Anthony Kennedy is 81-years-old. Clarence Thomas is 70-years-old, and there is certainly a possibility he might leave.
Here's my rule on Supreme Court retirements. Those who know don't tell, those who tell don't know. So it beats the hell out of me.
BERMAN: Taking a firm stand. Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very, very much.
HILL: We do want to update you on some breaking news, a story we've been following. CNN has learned the east Pittsburgh officer who's accused of shooting and killing this young man, an unarmed teen, Antwon Rose, has been arrested and charged with criminal homicide. CNN's Athena Jones is live in Pittsburgh with more. What more do we know about these charges?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erica. Right now all we know is that charge, criminal homicide. We know the officer Michael Rosfeld was arrested and fingerprinted this morning. He is expected to have a preliminary hearing next Friday, July 6th. We'll learn more details from the Allegheny County district attorney Stephen Zappala when he briefs the media at 11:00. That's when we expect to learn more about these specific charges.
But of course this is exactly what the family of Antwon Rose has been demanding and what the protesters who have been taking to the streets over the last week since his death have been demanding. They put a lot of pressure on District Attorney Stephen Zappala, and now these charges having been announced, this is going to be something that the protesters welcome.
They've gotten support from other city and state officials like the mayor who said he wanted to see a jury trial, from a state representative who told me if law enforcement wants to build trust with the community they have to show willing to discipline their own. We have also some reaction coming in from Antwon Rose's family attorney, Lee Merritt. He's representing the family. This is what he tweeted. He said Michael Rosfeld has been charged with criminal homicide in the murder of Antwon Rose. This is a small stride toward justice. We have a very long road ahead. So now that these charges have been brought, we'll learn more about it later and we'll see what develops. Erica?
BERMAN: Athena Jones for us in Pittsburgh. I'll take it, Athena, thanks so much.
Coming up for us, Peter Strzok, the FBI agent so involved with both the Hillary Clinton email and Russia investigation testifies behind closed doors. We're going to speak to a member of Congress who will be in that room in just a few hours. Stay with us.
[08:17:49] BERMAN: Sometime within the next hour, Peter Strzok will arrive on Capitol Hill. Strzok is the FBI agent who is in the middle of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, in the middle of the Russia investigation until he was let go. He was named repeatedly in the inspector general report. And it did suggest that he sent out many anti-Donald Trump texts. And it also said that he perhaps acted with some bias as part of that investigation.
Joining us now to talk about this, a man who will be part of that hearing later today, Eric Swalwell, a Democratic congressman from the state of California.
Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, (D), CALIFORNIA: Good morning, John.
BERMAN: First, this hearing's closed. Why can't we all hear from Peter Strzok today? I imagine what he has to say would be of great interest to the American people.
SWALWELL: You should be able to hear from him today. I agree, John. I heard that Peter Strzok had asked for this meeting to be open so let's lay that squarely at the feet of Chairman Bob Goodlatte. Why can't he open the hearing? But, frankly, if we take a step back, John, this hearing is a colossal waste of time. This is the committee that's responsible for immigration policy in America. We have 2,000 kids who have not been reunited with their parents and this committee believes that its most important duty right now at this hour in America is to go back and revisit Hillary Clinton's e-mails. That's a real shame. That's putting our priorities in the wrong direction.
BERMAN: Look, we've been talking about immigration all morning, but the idea that this hearing is a waste of time, Peter Strzok was in the middle of that e-mail investigation. Peter Strzok obviously connected to the Russian investigation as well. And it came up repeatedly in the inspector general report. There are questions that need to be posed to him, correct?
SWALWELL: Absolutely, John. And I'm not defending anything he said. I'm former prosecutor, my brother are cops, married to cops. Cops shouldn't act that way. And he should be held accountable for that. He was one of many investigators. And, John, Peter Strzok did not tell Donald Trump Jr or Paul Manafort to meet with the Russians. He didn't tell Donald Trump to stand on a stage and invite the Russians to keep hacking. And he didn't tell Michael Cohen to try and do a deal in Moscow for Trump Tower during the primary. So there's a lot of conduct that the Trumps did that's not related at all to Peter Strzok.
[08:20:04] BERMAN: You're correct, he did none of those things. But he did send very provocative texts, which did suggest, you know, I will not let Donald Trump be elected president. And the inspector general said he could not rule out the possibility that bias did factor in to how Peter Strzok behaved during the end of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. What questions are you going to ask? What questions do you have for him?
SWALWELL: I want to make sure that, again, none of his biases did affect the investigation, but also would love to learn more about other evidence out there that did exist about the Trump campaign and their concerning contacts with Russians. I hope my Republican colleagues, just as they're open to hearing about the Peter Strzok texts about Donald Trump, are just as open to hearing about the independent evidence of Donald Trump and his team so willing and eager to work with Russia so we can get our priorities straight there and understand that we have a lot more to learn if we're going to protect the ballot box --
BERMAN: And that is why Peter Strzok was so eager to testify in open sessions. Says he will not plead the Fifth. Said he will answer any questions asked to him. Maybe he does want to get that message out.
Let me ask you, while I have you, Congressman Swalwell, I can't help but notice you're a younger Democrat in the House of Representatives.
SWALWELL: I don't know, John. I've got a 1-year-old who's graying me every day. BERMAN: Nothing like that, believe me. However, Alexandria Ocasio-
Cortez, 28 years old, upset Joe Crowley overnight in a Democratic primary here in New York City. He was the number-four Democrat in the House of Representatives. What message should that send to Democratic leadership in Washington?
SWALWELL: Well, congratulations to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And we're going to miss Joe Crowley. It was very classy last night. I don't know if you saw to show, "Unity." He played his guitar and dedicated a song to her. I've seen about 60 candidates across the country who are under the age of 40 and they are bursts of new energy, ideas and much needed confidence.
They're running for Congress in the toughest districts. And I think they're going to provide reinforcements to the group that I lead called Future Forum, which is our 28 youngest members. This place, it's going to need all of that and more if we're going to grow paychecks, bring down health care costs, and end the corrupting influence of money in politics.
BERMAN: Do you need generational change at the top of your party in Washington?
SWALWELL: We need change in the House of Representatives. I started this group to start to bring that, and I'm excited that we'll have a 28-year-old, someone almost 10 years younger than me, coming to Congress and a lot more like her --
BERMAN: Should Nancy Pelosi, Stenny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn be nervous waking up this morning?
SWALWELL: No, I don't think they shouldn't be nervous. They have invited me to the table. I sit at the leadership table, John. I'm the youngest one on the team. And I make sure I stand up for Millennials and their concerns about climate change, racial equality, money in politics. And I think we need more people now at that table, and that's happening.
BERMAN: Do you have concerns that the victory here in New York City could somehow pull the party to the left and raise questions about electability going forward?
SWALWELL: No. I think this seat was a very progressive seat. And I've been just recently in Iowa, in Texas. I was in Tulsa over the weekend --
BERMAN: Iowa? You have anything you want to tell us?
SWALWELL: Yes, John. I was born there. It's always nice to go back and see the people I grew up with. But we've got a 28 to 29-year-old in eastern Iowa, she's running. She's a two-term state legislator, daughter of a pipe fitter, first in her family to go to college. Represents what we're seeing across the country, again, people stepping up for their community --
BERMAN: No one just goes to Iowa. No one just goes to Iowa ever in politics.
Last question. I do want to ask --
SWALWELL: We'll talk about that after November.
BERMAN: I do want to ask you about 2,047 children still separated by their parents, these children were separated by the U.S. government. We learned from DHS overnight that only six have been returned in the last week. How can that be?
SWALWELL: It's just wrong. It's sickening to think about children who every day go to bed not knowing where mom or dad or their aunt or uncle who brought them here are. We should make that our priority today as we debate immigration. We shouldn't do anything on immigration until we have a plan to reunite those children.
BERMAN: Eric Swalwell, Democrat from California, who has been to Iowa, just saying, great to have you here this morning. We do appreciate it.
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
HILL: Just to visit family, John.
BERMAN: No one ever just goes to Iowa. Iowa happens to be lovely.
HILL: It is.
BERMAN: But if you're an elected official, you never just go to Iowa.
[08:24:27] HILL: It doesn't look that way, does it?
Just ahead, the president waging war with Harley-Davidson. Ahead, we'll speak with a former executive for the company who helped turn it around in the '80s. He says the company is making the right decision today.
HILL: Few companies feel as iconic as American as Harley-Davidson. The motorcycle maker says its moving some production overseas to avoid tariffs set by the European Union in response to President Trump's tariffs. The company says this is the only sustainable option. President Trump says, however, Harley surrendered and waved the white flag.
Joining me now the former vice president of business development for Harley-Davidson, Clyde Fessler, who's widely credited with the company's turnaround in the '80s and '90s. Clyde, good to have you with us this morning.
The president, as we know, is not happy with this move. In fact, threatening that not only will the aura be gone from the company but, quote, "they will be taxed like never before." The president threatening to tax this company like never before.
What do you make of that, especially someone who helped turn this company around?
CLYDE FESSLER, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT FO BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, HARLEY- DAVIDSON: It's a very complicated situation, when looking at Harley. And you have to look way back when, when they started over 115 years ago, when Harley was just a domestic company and that was shipping motorcycles to North America and Canada and Mexico. In the 1980s, we became an international company and that's when we started shipping motorcycles to Europe, about 4,000 motorcycles a year in the mid- 1980s. Now we're shipping about 45,000 motorcycles a year to the European marketplace. And Harley-Davidson is evolving from a national company, an international company to a global company. And -- and just Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha, they all have plants all over the world.