Return to Transcripts main page

WOLF

Officer Who Shot, Killed Antwon Rose Charged with Criminal Homicide; Judge Orders Trump Administration to End Family Separations, Reunite Children with Families; Former NAACP President Ben Jealous Wins Maryland Gubernatorial Democratic Primary; Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Defeats 10-Term Rep. Joe Crowley; 2nd Immigration Bill in House Fails. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired June 27, 2018 - 13:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:33:20] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The police officer who shot and killed 17-year-old Antwon Rose, prompting protests, has been formerly charged with criminal homicide. Records show the police officer, Michael Rosfeld, shot Rose, who was unarmed, no less than three times. Rosfeld also changed the story when asked if he saw a gun. That according to the charges. Rose was riding in a car suspected of being involved in a drive-by shooting. He ran after being pulled over by Rosfeld. That's when Rosfeld opened fire, hitting Rose in the face, elbow and back. An affidavit shows a magazine found in Rose's pocket did not match a gun used in the earlier drive-by shooting.

I'm joined now by the attorneys representing the Rose family, Lee Merritt is joining us and Fred Rabner is joining us.

Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us.

Lee, I understand both of you view these charges against the police officer with what you call guarded optimism. Explain that.

LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF ANTWON ROSE: Well, this is just an important first step. We know that the family, our office is holding out for a conviction and appropriate sentencing. So we've seen officers, although rarely indicted on charges like first-degree murder, as Michael Rosfeld is here, but this isn't over until we get a conviction and an appropriate sentence.

BLITZER: Fred, the affidavit says that Antwon Rose was shot in the face, elbow and back. Do you know if all of these developments happened while he was running away from the police officer?

FRED RABNER, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF ANTWON ROSE: When viewing the video, you can't help but notice the shots are fired in a rapid succession, within a second of Antwon taking his first steps. The officer is poised by his vehicle with his gun out, in no risk of harm, not in harm's way whatsoever, stands poised and fires his weapon directly into the back of Antwon Rose Jr.

[13:35:18] BLITZER: Lee, do you know how many shots the officer fired? MERRITT: Yes. Rosfeld fired three shots in succession. He did not

flinch, he did not shout, "stop running," or give any verbal warning. Without hesitation, he fired three shots in the direction of Mr. Rose.

BLITZER: So, Fred, what kind of punishment, if convicted, does the family hope to see?

RABNER: This is a capital case. We believe the prosecution is seeking first-degree homicide, which means that would be life in prison. Obviously, there is, in Pennsylvania, the death penalty, but they wouldn't be seeking that here. Usually, those are in situations that have severely aggravated circumstances, such as multiple cases and things oh of that nature. But the district attorney's office, as filed right now, has filed first-degree homicide charges for an intentional killing by Officer Rosfeld against Mr. Antwon Rose Jr.

BLITZER: Fred Rabner, Lee Merritt, thank you very much for joining us.

RABNER: Thank you for having us.

MERRITT: Thank you.

BLITZER: Six, that's how many of the more than 2000 children in government custody who have been reunited with their families over the past few days. So what's taking so long?

Plus, he took on the Democratic establishment in Maryland and won. The gubernatorial candidate, Ben Jealous, he's standing by live. He'll join us. We'll discuss what seems to be the changing face of the Democratic Party.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:41:11] BLITZER: The numbers are appalling. Of the more than 2,000 immigrant children separated from their parents, only six have been reunited with their families. Only six children in the course of this past week. A federal judge wants that number to change and change very quickly, issuing a court order to halt most family separations at the U.S. border and, critically, for the first time since the so-called zero-tolerance policy went into effect, the government is now facing a specific deadline to reunite those children with their parents. Children under 5 years old must be reunited within 14 days, while children 5 and older must be reunited within a month.

Joining us now is Joseph Moreno, a former Department of Justice prosecutor. He knows this issue well.

I understand you think this is a major legal blow to the Trump administration.

JOSEPH MORENO, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It is, Wolf. First of all, logistically, it's going to be near impossible. If you believe the details in this order of the chaos that's going on in-between these different governmental agencies, who can't even seem to figure out where these children are in relation to their parents, how will the Trump administration can possibly comply with these deadlines in the time allotted? That's a major problem right there.

Then this compounds the other issues that are currently facing this administration. You have the zero-tolerance policy that was announced. You have the executive order. There's a lot of loopholes and gaps there. So this only adds to the Trump administration's burden. It doesn't help at all.

BLITZER: This court order, I know you read it, says the family separation issue is reaching, and I'm quoting now, "a crisis level. It's chaotic and it's causing irreparable harm."

What does that say to you?

MORENO: It says that laws that might look great in theory, when executed in the absolute, can fall short when you look at how they impact human beings. Policymakers have to take that into account. When you flip a switch and say, now it's going to be zero-tolerance, what are the ramifications of that? Do we have enough prosecutors? Do we have enough judges? And most importantly, how will this impact real human lives? I don't know if this administration factored any of these things into account when it made this policy, but it sure is having to deal with it now.

BLITZER: It's a big, big crisis that's going on right now.

Joseph Moreno, thanks very much for coming in.

MORENO: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up, riding a progressive wave. The former head of the NAACP is standing by to join me live on his dramatic Democratic primary win in the state of Maryland. There you see him live. We'll discuss that and a whole lot more. Ben Jealous is standing by, live.

Plus, just days after she was booted from a restaurant, there's new word that the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, will start receiving Secret Service protection. And the owner of that restaurant just quit a significant group.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:48:23] BLITZER: The former president of the NAACP wins the Democratic nomination in the Maryland governor's race. Ben Jealous emerged from a crowded field to win the primary election. He'll face incumbent Republican Governor Larry Hogan in November. Jealous is among several progressive Democrats in the spotlight for their primary wins. Most notable, Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley.

Joining us to talk about her win and his very dramatic victory, the former NAACP president and candidate for governor of Maryland, Ben Jealous.

Ben, congratulations very much. Thank you so much for joining us. BEN JEALOUS, (D), MARYLAND GUBANATORIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT,

NAACP: Thank you, Wolf. It's great to be here.

BLITZER: So what's the main reason you believe you won?

JEALOUS: You know, we ran a campaign all across the state, every corner of the state. We would win 22 out of 24 counties. And we did it by listening to people, and then talking to them about how we solve the big kitchen-table crises facing all of our families. How we make sure that our schools are fully funded. How we make sure that we get health care costs under control. How we get our public universities to be affordable again. And we find the money to do that by ending mass incarceration.

BLITZER: I know you were a supporter of Bernie Sanders. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won that congressional Democratic primary in New York City, also is a supporter of Bernie Sanders. How did that fit into this Maryland race?

[13:49:53] JEALOUS: I got to tell you, we were in downtown Silver Spring about a week and a half ago, 1200 people turned out for a big rally that we did with Bernie. And Bernie, for many people, he really speaks to getting back to being the party of FDR and RFK and MLK that was so focused on ending poverty and lifting all of us up. We also were endorsed by Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, and the lion's share of endorsements from the unions and environmental groups, and progressive groups that are here and active in our state. And we brought that big robust group together around tent-pole progressive issues that I guess were part of the Bernie campaign but clearly appealed to a far broader range of voters in our state.

BLITZER: What does it say about the future for the Democrats? You're a Democrat. What does it say about the future of Democrats, your win, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's win in New York? How do you see this unfolding?

JEALOUS: What it says is that we have to run straight towards the people. People have -- when you listen, what you find out is that what is affecting folks are not partisan issues. You know, the fact that your health care costs are surging, it doesn't happen because you are a Democrat or Republican or even a Democratic Socialist. That is just what is going on in our country. The fact your kids are coming out of college in debt, same thing. It's a people issue. The fact that you have friends or loved ones suffering from the opioid crisis, that is a people issue. So we've run towards the people of our state with real -- with the courage to actually tell them straight up, this is what it will take to solve that problem. We are all about bringing real solutions to real people and talking about how we can solve the whole problem, not just nibble around the edges.

BLITZER: As you know, Ben, the president, President Trump, says Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, he says they are now the face of the Democratic Party. Is the president succeeding in that kind of branding?

JEALOUS: I have no idea. What I know is that Donald Trump seems to be fixated on separating children at the border and putting them into cages and spending billions building a wall while the working people of my state just want to make sure their schools are fully funded. That our health care costs stop driving people into poverty and choking small businesses. That we get back to the deal that the baby boomers got, where our colleges were super affordable. And that we stop using incarceration as a solution for every problem like mental illness or homelessness or drug addiction. And so that is what we're focused on. We have to use our states, Wolf, to make sure that our families can still move forward even when Donald Trump is running our country in this -- far-right-wing conservatives control every blanch branch of our federal government.

BLITZER: You will be facing off against the incumbent governor, Larry Hogan, the Republican, in November. His approval ratings right now throughout the state, they are very high. And he has broken ranks - he's a moderate Republican -- with President Trump on a number of issues. Does it make it difficult for you and for Democrats to draw distinctions with Hogan?

JEALOUS: You know, not really. I mean, look, Hogan is a Republican land developer, like our president, and the similarities often end right there. He is a pretty nice guy. But what is also clear is that the majority of people in our state are saying, we're not actually better off than we were four years ago. And it is unusual that you find a poll that says a majority of people would actually vote for him again. You and I both know politics well enough that when you are incumbent governor and 100 percent of the people know who you are, and yet it is unusual that more than half say they won't vote for you again, you probably won't win. So we are focused on turning out voters by speaking to them about how we solve real problems. It is something that he's failed to do consistently. He wants to talk about, oh, I lowered your tolls on the bridge. If you are a senior citizen on a fixed income who is about to lose their house because property taxes are too high, that doesn't help you very much. So we focus on the real issues facing our families. And we focus on actually how we solve the whole problem, and not just nibble around the edges. Again, you know, lowering the tolls ain't going to help you much if your property taxes are too high.

BLITZER: Ben Jealous, thanks so much for joining us. And congratulations on your win.

JEALOUS: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: We did reach out to Governor Hogan as well to join us. He was not available today. Hopefully, he will join us down the road.

There's breaking news right now I want to get to it. The immigration bill, the second one has just failed in the House of Representatives.

Our Phil Mattingly is joining us from Capitol Hill.

Phil, not a huge surprise. It looks like the Republicans simply can't do it alone.

[13:55:01] PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's been right for more than a decade. It's been right today. And this bill didn't just fail, Wolf, it failed badly, 121- 301. As you noted, the writing has been on the wall for this. We've been told the last couple of days there's almost no chance that they could get the majority and actually pass this bill. But this is a significant defeat. In all my years of covering Congress, I'm not sure I've ever seen a bill fail this badly.

It's worth noting what was inside this bill, $25 billion for a border wall, cuts to the diversity via lottery, cuts to family visas, a lot of what the president wanted. The president endorsed the bill this morning, but it was lackluster up until now. And clearly reflected, as you noted, Wolf, that when it comes to immigration, House Republicans on their own, simply don't have an answer at least at this moment -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Yes, that is absolutely true. The president, the other day, told the Republicans, don't waste your time, it's not going anywhere.

Phil, thank you very much for the breaking news, the Republican- sponsored legislation comprehensive immigration reform goes down to defeat again.

Coming up, he is the former FOX News executive who resigned amid criticism of his handling of sexual harassment claims. Now CNN is reporting he's in final talks with the White House to get a major job there. Stand by. We have new information.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)